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About the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation

June Haimoff worked for more than 25 years towards a better protection of Sea Turtles, mainly the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Dalyan River Basin. She has been supported by diverse groups and people over the years, like Sir David Bellamy, DHKD, AGA etc. One of her main successes had been the abolishment of plans to build a big hotel complex on Iztuzu Beach, one of Turkey's main breeding sites for Loggerheads, in the late 1980's. As a consequence Dalyan/ Iztuzu became part of the first ever designated Köyceğiz- Dalyan Specially Protected Area (SEPA) by Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers (Decree Number 88/13019 dated 12.06.1988).

She was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Year Honours List of 2011.

Every movement toward turtle protection in the region and all over Turkey is based on these first efforts of one single woman.

Meanwhile the Pamukkale University in Denizli created a Rehabilitation Centre, neighbouring the PR facilities of the newly founded JUNE HAIMOFF SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION on Iztuzu Beach. While DEKAMER is dealing with the research and rehabilitation side of turtle protection, the KAPTAN JUNE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION strives for the "greater picture", turtle habitat safety and protection, awareness building, education and the necessary demonstrative and practical pilot projects connected to these issues.

Kaptan June's long standing wish for a legal entity to make sea turtle protection more effective was fulfilled with the financial support of many friends and great donations from TUI AG and Futouris. Thanks to these sponsors the founders were able to acquire the legal assets required for the establishment of a foundation. 

(Diagram explaining the foundation's structure)


The Dalyan River and its basin are highly tourism orientated and turtles are seen as a commercially exploitable asset of the area. Sea Turtles are lured upstream and fed with crab lines as an attraction, 'turtle feeding tours' and 'turtle feeding restaurants' are on offer; decimating the turtle and Blue Crab populations alike. This, together with the ever increasing boat traffic on the river and in the delta leads to increasing numbers of propeller-slashed turtles, turtles with gastro-intestinal problems from ingested plastic bags and/or unsuitable food.  

The foundation aims to better this situation. Our vision can be read here and this diagram also explains our aims.

After getting the founders together and the constitution set up, the founders finally met at a notary office on November 11th 2010 to sign the papers. The five founders are June Haimoff, Abidin Kurt, Yasemin Pakyürek, Yakup Kaska and Bahar (Heike) Suseven. On February 24th, the foundation was confirmed by court decision and published in the Resmi Gazete on April 9th 2011. 

Our first General Meeting was held on May 6th, when the Board of Directors and Finance Board have been elected and some interested people became registered members. Since then a great many things have happened: 

Ø      Kaptan June's famous hut has been set up as a small centre for public relations, information and fund raising. A group of volunteers is helping out, manning the hut and cheerfully keep in contact with the many visitors of the facility.

Ø      Kaptan June's MBE and the foundation of the JUNE HAIMOFF SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION have been celebrated with a cocktail party, partly organised by the Municipality of Dalyan with contributions from the British Embassy in Ankara. Participation was very good on this cheerful event, among the guests were the British Ambassador,  the British Consul, the Governor of Muğla, District Governor of Ortaca, the Mayors of Dalyan, Dalaman and Ortaca and a crowd of friends, visitors and interested residents.The press had a field day, too.

Ø      The first information leaflets have been prepared and disseminated. More intricate info material is being designed in the moment

Ø      A work plan has been drawn, ingesting the 'lessons learned' from the foundations first summer season and many tips and contributions from the volunteers on the ground. Our strategies for the future are based on this valuable input.

Ø      Of course the management of the foundation is new and everybody has to find his/her place first, but the board is meeting at least once a month to discuss every aspect of the foundation make new plans and implement the already existing ones for every month. The directors are in very close contact with each other, the Supervision Board, members, associates and volunteers.

Ø      Some ideas have already been converted into small projects and sent to potential supporters. We are confident to find all necessary contributions by and by, material and immaterial ones.

We are more than hopeful, that we can contribute to a safer environment for the Loggerhead Turtles and their breeding habitat. A contemporary protection of species can only be an integrated effort and has ideally to include their whole eco system. Since we can not protect these wanderers, once they are on the move to other Mediterranean places, we can at least make sure, that they can trust us and find their marine habitat in good shape and welcoming.

If you would like to be involved in this worthwhile project, please contact us:

- The Foundation at

Responsible tourism: 6 things you can do to help us protect turtles

Life is not an easy task for turtles. Hatchling Caretta caretta loggerheads have to face so many carettacarettaperils in their very early life only one in 1000 to 10 000 survives. They easily become a meal for nest and eggs predators, such as crabs, raccoons, ants and snakes during the incubation period.

After they emerge from the sand, hatchlings struggle to get the sea. They have to do that in the night because when the sun rises they can dry out or be eaten by other animals. When they finally get the ocean, young turtles swim and swim for 20 hours and more in order to be safe.

Once they become adult, it is pretty rare for a sea turtle to be attacked by a predator. In spite of this, Loggerhead Turtles population has dramatically decreased over the past few decades and this is not happening because nature takes its course. This is happening because turtles have to face new threats, the ones created by humans.

There are many ways we are putting the survival of this wonderful species in danger but today we’ll talk about responsible tourism in particular. There are 6 simple things we all have to do in order to avoid unnecessary dangers to turtles.


  1. Don’t feed turtles from the boats

Feeding turtles from the boats is a fun activity for tourists but not for the turtles. By doing so, Caretta caretta turtles are attracted by the food and they get closer to the boats so visitors can see them swimming in their natural habitat.

What tourists generally don’t know is that this is also one of the main causes of death for turtles. They take a huge risk getting closer to the boats and they are often killed or mutilated by propellers. That’s why it’s so important not to feed them from the boats.

  1. Keep the beach clean from trash

Did you know more than 100 million marine animals die every year because of plastic rubbish left on the beach or in the streets?

This is a huge matter for turtles too. They can accidentally eat plastic bags mistaking them for food and this can lead to serious injuries or death. Please remember to take all the rubbish with you before leaving a beach.

  1. Don’t disturb nesting females

Human activity on turtles’ nesting beaches, especially at night, can disturb turtles and lead them to not emerge from the sea or even stop them from nesting. During this period, the nesting areas shouldn’t be used from humans, so turtles have plenty of space to nest.

  1. Turn off the lights

Female Caretta caretta need dark and quiet beaches to lay their eggs. Otherwise, they could be pushed to choose other less suitable locations, resulting in less probability of the nesting being successful.

Also, when hatchlings emerge from the sand, they are attracted to the sea by the shining of the moon and the stars on the water. Night lighting can cause confusion and lead them toward the land, instead of the ocean. Here they die because of dehydration or predation. That’s why it’s so important not to keep the lights on during the night time.

  1. Help reduce the ocean pollution

One thing we all can do to protect marineturtle tumour species is to opt for biodegradable products, or at least less toxic chemicals. Sea pollution, indeed, is causing serious diseases to turtles, like fibropapillomatosis. This is a benign epithelial tumour that develops on turtles’ external tissues like genitals, eyes, neck, tail and armpits that ultimately impedes vision, swallowing and movement. Sometimes it can also grow on internal organs and interfere with system functioning.

  1. Get involved!

Help volunteers in their activities, for example cleaning the beaches or spreading the word on how to protect turtles with a few simple actions. Alternatively, you can support our Foundation with a small contribution here. Your donation will make a difference for many turtles.

These amazing animals can live very long lives, up to 65 years. Please help us to keep making this possible.

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