Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in March 2017.
“If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.” (Jacques-Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997)
This advice from the great explorer and conservator of the seas is very appropriate for describing the people of ARCHELON (whether they are in the field, in the office, or at the Rescue Centre) who have faith and hope, and work very hard to help protect sea turtles and their environment all year round. This year, the unpredictable weather caused by global warming has affected sea turtles, resulting in many requiring treatment for hypothermia.
“Christina” arrived on 19 March 2017 from Katakolo (Peloponnese). The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 82 cm and who weighs 78.0 kilos, has no visible injuries, but X-rays revealed she has a tiny hook in her throat. The turtle had been tagged by the ARCHELON field team in Kyparissia in the summer 2015 at the time she was nesting. “Christina” was driven to Athens by the person who rescued her.
“Phaedra”, a loggerhead with deep neck and flipper injuries possibly caused by entanglement in a fishing line or net, arrived from the island of Tilos by the Mayor on 15 March 2017. The Mayor cared for the turtle in her own home with the help of the local veterinarian. The next day, she was transferred to the aquarium of Rhodes, where she received first aid from the aquarium vet, and was sent to the Rescue Center as soon as space was available for her. The turtle’s carapace measures 70.0 cm and she weighs 31.5 kilos. She is not eating yet, but is receiving appropriate care for her wounds. (She is named after the mythological daughter of King Minos of Crete, and the wife of Theseus of Athens.)
“Rhea”, a juvenile loggerhead, was found in Porto Heli by a concerned citizen, who rescued her and brought her to the port police, who sent her to the RC. The turtle had a line visible in her mouth, and the hook was visible in her throat. She will receive surgery very soon. (She was named after the ancient Greek Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, and was the sister and wife of the god Chronos; she is often referred to as the mother of the Olympian gods.)
Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing and transporting these turtles.
Some great news! “Dionysis” a blind turtle who has been at the RC since 2011 when he was tiny (32 cm and 3.5 kilos), gradually learned to find food in the bottom of his tank in the intensive care greenhouse, but had not been put into a big outdoor tank because of the fear he would not be able to forage properly. The last time he was measured in 2015, he was 46 cm and weighed 12 kilos. Due to the unusually large number of turtles arriving with hypothermia, “Dionysios” was temporarily moved into a big outdoor tank and is doing very well there. So, perhaps he can be released into the sea instead of being relocated in an aquarium, as was originally planned – time will tell!
“Athinioli”, who had arrived on 5 September 2016 from Corinthos with a head injury, died as a result of her injuries on 22 February 2017.
“Aphroditi”, who had arrived on 2 October 2016 from Preveza with a general infection all over her body, died on 7 March 2017.
‘Dion” who had arrived on 18 December 2016 from Crete with a very deep head injury, died on 21 March 2017.
... to Hartmann Hellas (http://gr.hartmann.info/) for their generous donation of medical supplies used in treating the turtles.
Did you know...
Sea turtles have been around for millions of years, and there is a reason why: they are very important for the maintenance of the health of the world’s ecosystems. In addition to helping keep coral reefs and sea grass colonies in good condition, they also bring important nutrients from the sea to the beaches and coastal dunes. They also help to preserve a balanced food web by eating sponges, jellyfish, etc., and (in the case of hatchlings) providing food for other animals. For a free downloadable report with beautiful photos, see
Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the value of sea turtles, which are often deliberately and brutally killed or tortured for various reasons, perhaps because they may damage fishing nets or gear when they are caught in them and trying to escape. Fortunately, a new project funded by the WWF uses LED lights on nets to ‘warn’ turtles away from them: Turtles can see the lights (which fish cannot) and avoid the nets. Testing of these LED nets resulted in a 60% decrease in turtle bycatch, and a 20% increase in the target catch. For more information, see