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Protecting Sea Turtles on Zakynthos

About the Rescue Center

The ‘Mediterranean Marine Life Center’, also referred to as the ‘Zante Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Center’, or just ‘Zante Turtle Center’, is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on the island of Zakynthos (Zante), in Greece. We are located at the southern tip of the island, 100 metres from Gerakas Beach.

The mission of the Zante Turtle Center is to protect Caretta caretta (loggerhead sea turtles) and other marine life in and around the island of Zakynthos. Gerakas is at the heart of the Caretta caretta nesting ground, and we are working to stave off the damaging tourist development in the area to ensure that this endangered species is not overlooked. Our aim is to show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together to benefit visitors, locals, and wildlife alike.

Each year tourism numbers grow, and subsequently the rise of human beach activity, pollution, and lighting from island nightlife and beach erosion has contributed to a continual decline in the species population and annual hatchling survival rate.

Born on the Island, founder Yannis has witnessed the severity of the situation first-hand and recognises the need for drastic protection in order to ensure that the sea turtles are able to survive and thrive in their natural habitat and nesting waters.

For over 30 years, Yannis Vardakastanis has fought to protect the Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle) population of Zakynthos and their precious nesting beaches from habitat disturbance.

The Zante Turtle Center collects and tracks sea turtle nesting data, cleans and monitors Gerakas beach during the nesting season, and works to develop protective policies in light of the area’s over-tourism. In 2011 we funded and began to build the Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Center in Gerakas. The information center opened to the public in 2012, and has since encouraged visitors to take a closer look at the natural beauty, wildlife, and rich heritage of Zakynthos, and promoted the importance of sustainable tourism. We attract an estimated 70,000 tourists from across the globe every year! We are raising funds to become an active rescue center. If you are interested in supporting this cause donations are accepted here.

Protecting our Island’s Wildlife

Protect Caretta caretta

Through steady action, we will ensure a bright future for our beautiful planet.

The Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Center was built in 2012 and has since been operating as an Information Center for visitors. In the meantime we have been in the process of completing the rescue facility but it takes time, money and help to get there. Once we are up and running we are going to be able to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles back to the wild.

Testimonials

Did you enjoy your visit at Zakynthos Sea Turtle Rescue and Information Center?

Review us on TripAdvisor and Google

Robert ATripAdvisor

Was a twenty minute walk from our hotel. Really glad we visited. The team here are doing an amazing job protecting the native sea turtles. No turtle’s to see when we visited which was a good thing really, given that this place is a rescue centre.
Really informative centre and a good learning experience.ce.

Francesca MTripAdvisor

Very interesting. AMAZING work. It was very educational and informative. People need to go here and learn how to behave on the beaches to save the Turtles and not disturb their nests. We saw some babies here. The shop and cafe were good and all the money goes to saving the turtles. Making a donation here goes a long way. Please go and donate.

devonvisitor0TripAdvisor

Well worth a visit. Although no turtles were present during our visit, this is the most amazing place. Everyone is welcome, easy parking, no entrance fee, food available, interesting displays . Great information about the turtles nesting at the adjacent beach. Don't miss it!

MitchyoneTripAdvisor

Amazing.This place really fascinated me, and you can share the beach with the turtle nests. 5 -10 min walk down the road. Obviously some part of it is sectioned off. If you go swimming I recommend taking a pair of those beach plastic shoes, it's a bit pebbly when you first go in. The staff do an amazing job at the rescue centre and have lots of knowledge. Don't forget your loose change to give. It all helps. They do a great job.