There were astonishing scenes on a Polis Chrysochous beach yesterday when the community leader and residents of Argakas attempted to prevent a team from the turtle protection programme from doing their work, Phileleftheros reports.
It said the incident took place before the eyes of foreign experts who are in Cyprus to observe an educational programme on turtle protection being implemented here in cooperation with the Council of Europe.
Also looking on was a representative from the permanent committee on the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Life and Natural Habitats of the Council of Europe.
According to the newspaper, the incident took place at beach near the Santa Barbara kiosk, within the Natura 2000 and the Yialia special conservation zones which include the main nesting beaches for the loggerhead and green turtle in Chrysochous Bay.
It said that the team had gone to the beach but received a call from the community leader of Argakas telling them that they did not have the permission of the local authority and should leave.
The team ignored the call and went about their work, placing predator exclusion cages over turtle nests, in line with the agreement with the Fisheries Department.
Soon after, the community leader arrived on the beach and tried to stop them. At some point, he stood over one nest and would not allow the placing of the cage claiming that there were no turtle eggs there, Phileleftheros said.
The police were called in and so as to prevent an escalation of the incident, asked the team to leave the area, Phileleftheros said.
Police spokesman Christos Andreou told the newspaper that there had been a ‘small altercation’ between the team, which had all the required permits to be in the area, and the community leader and residents of the area.