Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in April 2017.
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” (Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919)
No matter where you live, this insightful quote from decades ago is very appropriate today. Fortunately, this advice is followed today by various environmental and animal protection groups throughout the world, who work tirelessly (and often unacknowledged or unappreciated – and sometimes even threatened) to save the planet. Needless to say, ARCHELON Rescue Center is a good example.
As reported previously, the winter of 2016 and 2017 proved to be a record-breaking year as far as the number of turtles being treated. And I am sorry to say that most of their problems were caused by human actions. Of the total number of 33 turtles at the Center at the end of April 2017, 13 have injuries deliberately inflicted by human action, 8 have injuries related to fishing interaction (i.e. ingested hooks and/or lines and injuries caused by entanglement in nets), and most recently, 7 suffering from natural cause such as hypothermia due to the global climate change. The remaining 5 turtles are suffering from other types of problems.
“Lazaros”, a male CC, arrived from Rhodos on 4 April 2012. The turtle, whose carapace measures71.6 cm and who weighs 39 kilos, has carapace injuries which appear to have been intentionally inflicted by someone stabbing him. The turtle was found and rescued by the Rodos Hydrobiological Station. Fortunately, “Lazaros” is recovering well and hopefully will be released in the near future.
“Hydra”, a female CC with a carapace of 57.8 cm and weighing 28 kilos, arrived at the RC from Pylos with flipper injuries caused by fishing line entanglement. She was rescued by a local resident, who called the port police. As she was unable to be transferred directly, Pavlo asked Judy and Costas, local residents and 10-year ARCHELON volunteers, to care for the turtle until she could be brought to Athens. However, the following day transport was still unavailable, so Pavlos drove down to pick her up. At the moment she is not eating, but we are hopeful her injuries will heal.
“Yakinthi”, a female CC, was found at nearby Varkiza beach. She arrived at the RC on 26 April 2017. She has no visible injuries, but may be suffering from gastrointestinal impaction because she is not eating. She managed to expel some strange-looking feces (which Pavlo suspects are sea cucumbers). Hopefully, this may be a sign “Yakinthi” is recovering. She was found by local residents, who notified the port police. Many thanks to the port police, who quickly came to rescue the turtle and stayed with the turtle on the beach until ARCHELON volunteers arrived to pick her up. Special thanks to port police member Eirini Folaki, who later came to the RC to check on the turtle and also brought some medical supplies.
“Zoe”, a CC whose carapace measured 65.1 cm and weighed 35.5 kilos, arrived from Zacharo on 2 April 2017 with a very severe head injury (intentionally inflicted by humans). Unfortunately, the turtle died on 24 April 2017 as a result of her injuries. Many local residents who had seen the turtle reported the incident and posted photos on FB, but didn’t do anything to rescue this turtle. Only one woman, Dimitra (along with her young son), covered the turtle and stayed with “Zoe” late into the night until the turtle was picked up and cared for by the same Costas and Judy mentioned above. Costas was kind enough to bring the turtle to Athens in his car the following day. (“Zoe” is a Greek word and name which means ‘Life’.)
“Patroklos”, a CC was found in a very weak, debilitated condition in Salamina. The turtle, whose carapace measured 27.2 cm and weighed 3.0 kilos, arrived at the RC on 28 April 2017. The turtle was found floating (covered with barnacles) near a drydock by Dimitrios, an employee at Perama harbor. The turtle has some light carapace injuries. Many thanks to Dimitrios and everyone else involved in rescuing this turtle. (According to Homer’s ancient epic poem Iliad, ‘Patroklo’ was an Greek hero and close friend of Achilles; he was killed during the Trojan War.)
‘Valentina’ was moved into a big tank for monitoring before her release.
‘Luna”, who has been in a big tank for some time, will be one of the first to be released.
‘Georgios’, who continues to improve, will continue his rehab in the big tank as soon as Luna is released.
‘Rhea’ had surgery to remove an ingested hook and is recovering well.
‘Sophia’ had an ingested hook in her mouth which was able to be removed without surgery, but surgery was required to remove her injured flipper. She is recovering well.
Did you know...
Although many hundreds of thousands of sea turtles hatchlings enter the sea worldwide every year, only one in 1000 will survive natural threats, while the number decreases to 1 in 10,000 when human-caused threats are factored in. As if that were not bad enough, the sex of sea turtles (like all reptile species) is determined by the temperature within the nest during the incubation period: Higher temperatures produce female hatchlings, while cooler temperatures produce males. Due to global warming, the ratio of male-female is being affected, adding to their problem of survival. There are many articles about these topics on the internet. For example, Information About Sea Turtles: Threats to Sea Turtles
https://conserveturtles.org/information-sea-turtles-threats-sea-turtles/ and Incubation Temperature Effects on Hatchling Performance in the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269397/