Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in July 2017.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan
Fortunately, many of the turtles who had received treatment over the winter have recovered their health and, now that all the big outdoor tanks are up and running, we are able to monitor and release turtles more quickly than was possible last year. As a result, the number of turtles currently being treated –although still quite large- is more manageable.
Many thanks to all the volunteers for their dedication and hard work during the difficult days of the heat waves which have been hitting our area.
With more people out on the beaches and sea during the summer vacation period, which also coincides with the Caretta caretta mating, nesting and hatching period, there are more reported turtle strandings (injured or dead) at this time. The ARCHELON field project teams are instrumental in rescuing and caring for injured turtles which they find or are reported to them, and for arranging their transfer to the Glyfada Rescue Center as quickly as possible. Many thanks to all the volunteers and members of the public for their interest in the sea turtles.
“Helios”, a Caretta caretta whose carapace measures 61.3 cm and weighs 28 kilos, arrived at the RC on 14 July 2017. The turtle had been found in Thessaloniki with a head injury on the right side of her head, just above and next to her eye. The injury had deliberately been inflicted by human action. Thanks to the Exotic & Wild Animal Unit (Head of Unit: Ms. N. Komninou) of the Veterinary School at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and all the students for administering first aid and arranging the transfer of the turtle to the RC.
“Thalia” arrived from Preveza on 28 July 2017. The loggerhead’s carapace is 58.9 cm long and she weighs 25 kilos. She was rescued by Pella, a member of the ARCHELON Rescue Network who has helped save many turtles in the past. Thalia has no visible injuries, and an examination revealed her plastron is soft, which sometimes indicates the turtle has suffered malnutrition.
“Syra” arrived at the RC on 31/07/17 from Poseidonias (Syros). The loggerhead’s carapace measured 66.4 cm and weighed 20.0 kilos. The turtle had no visible injuries, but X-rays revealed that the turtle is suffering from a lung infection. “Syra-17” is currently receiving treatment for her condition and is expected to recover. Many thanks to Mr. G.M. for rescuing this turtle.
“Hattie” was found by the Kefalonia Wildlife Sense organization swimming near Argostoli harbour. The turtle was covered with leeches under her neck, cloaca area, and all cavities around flippers. The female loggerhead, whose carapace measures 73.8 cm and who weighs 55.7 kilos, has no visible injuries. However, leech infestation is usually an indicator of inactivity for a relatively long period of time, leading to the conclusion that she has some internal problem. She is the second turtle this year found, treated and rescued by the group and sent to the RC for rehabilitation. (See their website at https://wildlifesense.com/en/kefalonia/)
“Rika”, a loggerhead with a carapace length of 49.6 cm and weighing 31.5 kilos, arrived at the RC on 22 July 2017 with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. The turtle had been found by the Naxos Wildlife Protection group and sent to the RC for treatment. Many thanks once again to Ricardo, Yiannis and the rest of the Naxos team for rescuing this turtle and for their continued efforts to save sea turtles and other marine life in their area.
“Athina”, a loggerhead whose carapace measured 63.0 cm and who weighed 25.0 kilos, arrived at the RC on 12 July 2017. The turtle, who was found at Platamonas, had a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. Unfortunately, the turtle died as a result of its injuries on 29 July 2017.
“Coco” arrived at the RC from Zakynthos on 15 July 2017 with severe injuries caused by a collision with a speedboat. The turtle’s carapace measured 72.0 cm. The turtle had been rescued by the Zakynthos ARCHELON Field Projects team and sent to the RC, but unfortunately, it died shortly after its arrival. For more information and photos of this turtle, see the article on the ARCHELON website http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=931
“Sue”, a loggerhead who had arrived on 18 September 2016 from Spetses, recovered her strength and was released into the Saronic Gulf on 29 July 2017. The turtle had been found in a weakened condition, floating on the surface. She had two very old, healed injuries (a missing flipper and a half-moon shaped piece of her carapace missing) which were not the cause of her problem. After being treated with antibiotics over the cold winter months, she regained her strength and was released. Many thanks to Sue and Aziz who rescued and supported all the cost of her rehabilitation.
“Sofia”, who had arrived on 15 February 2017 from Chania with an ingested hook, had the hook removed, recovered her health, and was released on 29 July 2017 into the Saronic Bay.
“Rhea”, who had arrived on 29 March 2017 from Hermione with an ingested hook in her stomach, managed to pass the hook naturally and was released on 29 July 2017 into the Saronic Bay.
“Polyphitos”, who had arrived from Leros on 15 February 2017 suffering from hypothermia, was released on 11 July 2017 in Crete in cooperation with the Grecotel group, which had generously paid for all the turtle’s expenses during his entire period of rehabilitation. In particular, thanks to the Grecotel Creta Palace hotel for hosting the event and for their collaboration with the ARCHELON Crete field team. Thanks also to local officials Ms. Rena Koutsaledaki, Mr Mano Nikoloudaki, and the port police. We would also once again like to thank Dr. Kontrafouris, member of Arion Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center http://www.arion.org.gr/ for his continued help in rescuing and caring for Polyphitos and other injured sea turtles. There is an article and photos of this release on the ARCHELON website at http://www.archelon.gr/contents/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=923. The article is not available in English, but you can still enjoy the photos.
Many thanks to the Athens Divers Club for once again providing their boat for the release of “Sofia”, “Rhea” and “Sue” and for their continued collaboration with the ARCHELON Rescue Center. For a video of the release of these three turtles, see https://vimeo.com/228823540.
This month, there were seven turtle deaths at the RC, all of which were caused by human action. In addition to the two turtles mentioned above who died shortly after their arrival, five more turtles lost their lives because they were unlucky enough to come into contact with humans: one died from an ingested hook, one died from a boat travelling at excessive speed, and five died from being deliberately struck on the head and left to slowly die.
“Akis”, who had arrived on 16 June 2017 from Alonissos with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action, died on 27 July 2017 as a result of his injuries.
“Lia”, who had arrived from Tinos on 22 October 2016 with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action, died on 22 October 2016.
“Kalypso”, a loggerhead which had arrived from Rethymno on 16 June 2017, died one month later on 16 July 2017. The turtle, who had an ingested hook, was too weak to survive surgery when she arrived and efforts to help her regain her strength were unsuccessful.
“Triada” had arrived at the RC on 9 June 2017 from Alexandroupolis with a head injury deliberate inflicted by human action. The turtle was very emaciated when it arrived, and liquid was draining from its nose. Despite attempts to save the turtle, it died as a result of its injuries on 19 July 2017.
“Calista”, had arrived on 14 June 2017 from Arta. “Calista-17” was yet another turtle with a head injury deliberately caused by human action. Unfortunately, she died as a result of her injuries on 6 July 2017.
Did you know...
Each of the ARCHELON Field Projects has its own FB page, which is updated regularly. Type in the name ARCHELON in the FB search bar and you will see all the different beach projects, plus the Ambrakikos Bay Project. And don’t forget to regularly check the ARCHELON website www.archelon.gr to keep up to date with the latest news.
Remember... help reduce plastic pollution (and injuries to sea turtles and other animals) by saying NO to plastic straws.