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  Greek turtles lose to Olympics
Updated 30 June 2004, 16.06
Loggerhead turtle
Endangered loggerhead turtles in Greece are among the first to lose at this summer's Olympics.

Greece has the largest nesting population of the endangered turtles and it's vital to protect them from tourists while they are nesting.

Cuts in funding mean the beaches where they nest on the island of Zakynthos won't be protected properly.

Because of the Olympics there will be more tourists this year so environmentalists fear for the turtles.

Loggerhead baby

Their hatching cycle coincides with the Olympics as they come ashore to lay eggs by the end of May and hatching starts at the beginning of August.

"This is one of the worst ecological scandals in the European Union," said Lilli Venizelos from a turtle conservation group.

Activists have reported speed boat races in the harbour and tourists swarming onto the beaches.

The WWF called on Greece to stop a tourist "free for all" from destroying important habitats.

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