Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in June 2017.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1893)
Despite the record number of turtles (the majority with severe head injuries) and the record temperatures (which are not only unpleasant for working, but also require extra work to protect the turtles from the heat), everyone at the Rescue Centre has been doing an outstanding job. From one volunteer to another, THANK YOU!
As usual, June is a busy month at the Rescue Center, and 2017 is no exception: 12 injured turtles arrived for treatment, but unfortunately two were very seriously injured and died shortly after their arrival.
‘Nileas’ arrived on 5 June 2017 from Messinia with flipper injuries most likely caused by becoming entangled in fishing line. ‘Nileas 17’ was rescued by the lifeguards from the beach at The Romanos Resort, Costa Navarino in collaboration with the ARCHELON field team working in the area. Many thanks to the lifeguards and The Romanos Resort for helping save this turtle. (In ancient Greek mythology, Nilus is named in Hesiod’s Theogony as one of the Potami (= River), children of the Titan god Oceanus and his goddess sister Tethys, and represents the Nile River.)
‘Haroula II’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 57.7 cm and who weighs 26.5 kilos, arrived on 6 June 2017 from Alonisos. The turtle is being treated for a head and carapace injury, both of which were deliberately inflicted by human action.
‘Triada’, whose carapace measures 49.9 cm and who weighs 15.5 kilos, arrived from Alexandroupois on 9 June 2017. The loggerhead has a head injury deliberately inflected by human action. The turtle was rescued by the staff of the Evros Delta Management Authority (http://www.evros-delta.gr/en/the-management-body) and, after consultation with ARCHELON and the Veterinary School at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, was sent to ARCHELON for treatment. Thanks to everyone involved in rescuing this turtle.
‘Bilbo II’ arrived from Kefalonia on 16 June 2017 with two ingested hooks, a plastron injury and a lump on her neck. The same turtle had been treated and released by ARCHELON in 2016 into the Saronic Bay after an ingested hook was removed; at that time she also had an old carapace injury which did not seem to cause her any problems.
Now, in 2017, the same loggerhead, whose carapace measures 81.7 cm and weighs 67.5 kilos, was once again found in Argostoli Harbor (where she had also been found in 2016) and given first aid and antibiotic treatment by the Kefalonia Wildlife Sense association before being sent to the RC. The turtle also has a cyst or growth on her neck, a sample from which was taken by members of Kefalonia Wildlife Senseand sent to the Veterinary School at the Aristotle University for testing. Many thanks to Kefalonia Wildlife Sense for their continued collaboration in rescuing and saving injured sea turtles.
‘Kalypso’ arrived from Rethymno on 16 June 2017. She was very weak and had an ingested hook. Because of her weak condition, the vet determined immediate surgery should not be performed. At the moment her condition has not improved. The turtle’s carapace is 31.7 cm and weighs 7.5 kilos.
‘Akis’ arrived on 16 June 2017 from the island of Alonisos with a severe head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. The turtle, whose carapace measures 63.5 cm and weighs 34.5 kilos, was covered with algae, indicating she had been inactive for some time.
‘Jane’, arrived from Preveza on 16 June 2017 with a severe head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. (Unfortunately, many of the turtles with head injuries come from Preveza.)
The loggerhead weighs 34.0 kilos and her carapace measures 60.3 cm. Many thanks to Pella, a member of the ARCHELON Rescue Network in Preveza, for once again rescuing an injured turtle.
‘Maryna’ arrived at the RC on 24 June 2017 from Preveza with a head trauma on the centre of her head, another injury on the right side of her head, as well as two cuts on the underside of her neck and flipper, also on the right side. The loggerhead’s carapace measures 59.8 cm and she weighs 30 kilos.
‘Julia’, a loggerhead with a head trauma deliberately inflicted by human action, arrived on 23 June 2017 from Thessaloniki. The turtle’s carapace measures 41 cm and she weighs only 8.5 kilos.
‘Vishpala’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 61,0cm and who weighs 25 kilos, arrived at the Rescue Center on 5 June 2017 with a slight head injuries and missing a flipper. The turtle was rescued by members of the ARCHELON field team based in Chania. (The name ‘Vishpala’ comes from an Vedic Sanskrit hymn, one of the oldest extant texts in the Indo-European language. The language of the hymns is a bit obscure, but one of the translations says that Vishpala was a brave female warrior who lost her leg in a great battle but was given an iron leg to replace it.)
‘Christina’ was found in Katakolo, Ileia on 19 March 2017 with an ingested hook and line. After three months of treatment at the Rescue Centre, and full recovery, she returned to the sea on Friday, 30 June 2017.
‘Lazaros’, a male loggerhead, arrived from Rhodes on 4 April 2017 with carapace injuries which appear to have been intentionally inflicted by someone stabbing him. The turtle was found and rescued by the staff at the Rhodes Hydrobiological Station, who has collaborated with ARCHELON many times in the past to rescue to save injured sea turtles – many thanks to them. (See their website http://www.hcmr.gr/en/research-infrastructures/facilities-3/rhodes/). He was treated at ARCHELON's Rescue Centre for 2.5 months, fully recovered, and was released into the Saronic Gulf on 26 June 2017 from "Katafygi" beach.
‘Aggeliki’ had been rescued on 7th December 2016 in Lefkada, where she was found with a head injury. She was transferred to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with the invaluable help of the members of the Lefkas Animal Welfare Society (LAWS), who have collaborated with ARCHELON many times in the past to rescue to save injured sea turtles – many thanks to the. (See their website http://lawslefkada.gr/en/about-us/) . ‘Aggeliki’ was released into the Saronic Bay by boat, with the help and support of the Athens Divers Club on 1 June 2017. Many thanks for their continued support and collaboration with ARCHELON.
"Artemis" had been found on 2 February 2016 with hypothermia, and was transferred to the Exotic & Wild Animal Unit (Head of Unit: Ms. N. Komninou) of the Veterinary School at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She received first aid, and detailed laboratory and clinical examinations were performed before she was sent to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre for treatment. She fully recovered and was released into the Saronic Gulf on 12 June 2017 from Katafygi Beach.
‘Alexia’ was rescued on 31 January 2017 in Andros, where she was found covered in oil and also had an ingested hook. Many thanks to Alexia and The LIFE ANDROS team for rescuing and caring for the turtle before sending her to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre. She has recovered completely and was released by boat with the help and support of the Athens Divers Club on 23 June 2017.
“Theodora”, a young loggerhead (weighing only 1.5 kilos), was found very weak and exhausted in Rethymno on 16 February 2017. She recovered completely and was released by boat into the Saronic Gulf on 23 June 2017, with the help and support of the Athens Divers Club. Once again, many thanks to the Athens Divers Club for their collaboration with ARCHELON.
‘Phaedra’, who had arrived at the RC on 15 March 2017 from Tilos with a flipper injury caused by entanglement with a fishing line, died as a result of her injuries on 2 June 2017.
‘Korinthos’, who arrived on 23 June 2017 from Corinthos with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action, died on 24 June 2017 as a result of his injuries.
Did you know...
There have been recently published and televised news reports that the Corinthian Gulf and its beaches are being overrun by Medouses, a type of jellyfish whose sting is poisonous (to both fish and humans) and in some cases can be fatal. The cause of this ‘population explosion’ has not yet been explained. Of course, I am not a biologist or scientist, but I do know that everything in the cycle of nature is linked. And one link I know of is that jellyfish are one of the favorite foods of sea turtles. Might there be a connection between the increased number of jellyfish and the increased number of reported sea turtle strandings? An interesting research article in English about sharp increases in Medusa population numbers is available at http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2006/307/m307p161.pdf. The article mentions several possible factors which may account for this phenomenon, including global warming and ecosystem changes.
There are many articles and videos related to this recent Corinthian Gulf phenomenon on the internet, both in English and Greek. For example, this is a link for a report on the Alpha TV Channel, which is broadcast all over Greece: http://www.alphatv.gr/news/society/gemise-apo-medoyses-o-korinthiakos-kolpos (report and video in Greek) and a related report in English: http://www.newgreektv.com/news-in-english-for-greeks/greece/item/22690-supreme-cou.rt-action-sought-over-jellyfish-infestation-in-corinthian-gulf
There are lots of videos online showing sea turtles feeding on sea turtles, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4x4bJI5mdo