Our volunteer at the Rescue Center Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in August 2017.
“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature, unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping.” Hubert Reeves
The month of August means different things to different people. For students and many working people, it’s a time for holidays and relaxation by the sea. For ARCHELON volunteers working on the various field projects, it’s a time for them to enjoy the fruits of all their hard work to protect nesting sea turtles and their nests and to inform as many people as possible about sea turtles and the dangers then face: It is the time when the hatchlings leave their nests and head for the sea to begin their new lives. At the ARCHELON Rescue Center, it is usually the busiest month of the year, since more people out on the sea usually results in more injured turtles. This August was no exception.
Many thanks to all the volunteers, including the local day volunteers, for all their hard work and dedication in helping the injured sea turtles at the Center.
Eight injured turtles arrived for treatment; unfortunately, three died shortly after their arrival due to the severity of their injuries.
‘Smaro’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 70.5 cm, arrived from the nearby island of Keas on 3 August 2017. The turtle had a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. Unfortunately, because of the severity of her injuries, the turtle died shortly after her arrival on 08/08/17.
‘Maua’ arrived from Argostoliou, Kefalonia, on 9 August 2017 with an ingested hook. The turtle’s carapace is 66.7 cm and she weighs 32.3 kilos.
Together with ‘Maua’, ‘Nelly’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 67.3 cm and who weighs 30.2 kilos, arrived on 9 August 2017 from Argostoliou, Kefalonia. The turtle had no visible injuries and has been diagnosed as suffering from impaction.
‘Vassilis’, a male loggerhead whose carapace measures 81.0 cm and who weighs 45.0 kilos, arrived on 9 August 2017 from Kalamatas. The turtle had no visible injuries. X-rays and a medical examination indicate he is suffering from bouancy issues. The cause is unknown, but may be due to a lung infection. He is receiving antibiotics and drips, but at the moment still has the incline problem.
A female loggerhead, ‘DOA2-17’, arrived from the nearby island of Salamina on 15 August 2017, with carapace injuries caused by a propeller. Unfortunately, the turtle’s injuries were so severe that she did not survive the short trip to the RC. The turtle was a large female, whose carapace measured 78.0 cm and who weighed 46.5 kilos.
‘Panos’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 31.0 cm and who weighs just 5.0 kilos, arrived at the RC from Larissou with an ingested hook. The turtle was very active despite the hook. He was given special pharmaceutical oil to help pass the hook naturally, and he did. He is now eating on his own and is a candidate for release.
‘Myra’, a male loggerhead, arrived from Amvrakikos on 17 August 2017. The turtle’s carapace is 71.5 cm long and he weighs 43.0 kilos. ‘Myra 17’ had an ingested hook (which was surgically removed) and a fishing line was coming out of his cloaca. He still has some line inside his body, and is being pharmaceutical oil to help him pass it. Because of the surgery, he could not be given food for two weeks; since then, he is not interested in eating and will be tube fed. Ingested fishing line is always dangerous since it can cause internal injuries.
‘Nikos’, arrived from Previza on 18 August 2017 with new visible NEW injuries. He did have an healed head injury and also a missing front right flipper which had also healed, some scars on his prefrontal scutes, and buoyancy issues. He is being treated with antibiotics, but is not eating by himself, so is being tube fed.
‘Tony’ arrived from Argostoli (Corfu) on 20 August 2017 with ingested hooks and line. The turtle was rescued by Wildlife Sense organization on Corfu, who found him with fishing line wrapped tightly around his front left flipper and neck, plus a piece of fishing net and line coming out from his cloaca. After administering first aid to the turtle, Wildlife Sense sent him to the RC for further treatment. X-rays showed he has two small ingested hooks, which are too far down in his body to be surgically removed. He is being tube fed and being given special pharmaceutical oil to help him pass the hooks and any line which may still be in his system. The turtle is a loggerhead male, whose carapace length is 77.0 cm and who weighs 57 kilos. Many thanks to the Wildlife Sense team for their work in rescuing this turtle and for their continued collaboration with ARCHELON.
‘Naxos’, a female green turtle, arrived on 26 August 2017 from Naxos, but unfortunately she died the same day. The turtle was 74.5 cm in length and weighed 47.0 kilos. ‘Naxos 17’ had been found on the beach by tourists, who notified the authorities and the Naxos Wildlife Protection Society, who gave the turtle first aid and arranged for her transport for the RC. A necropsy revealed that she had ingested 2 meters of fishing line, which had caused a puncture wound in her intestines. Many thanks to the people who rescued this turtle, to the Naxos Wildlife Protection Society, and to the crew of the ferry boat “Blue Star Patmos”, who delayed the departure of the ship so that the turtle could be sent to Athens.
Unfortunately, in addition to the three turtles mentioned above which arrived and died in August, two other turtles who were being treated at the RC died as a result of their injuries.
‘Julia’ had arrived on 23 June 2017 from Thessaloniki with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. The loggerhead’s carapace measured 45.5 cm and she weighed 8.5 kilos. She died on 3 August 2017 from her injuries.
‘Maryna’ had arrived on 24 June 2017, is yet another turtle from Preveza with a severe head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. The loggerhead’s carapace measured 65.6 cm and she weighed 30 kilos. Unfortunately, she died on 4 August 2017 from her injuries.
Fortunately, we also had some good news in August: A number of the turtles who had been treated at the RC recovered their health and were released back into the sea.
‘Lily’ a female Caretta caretta, had arrived from Agios Konstantinos Beach (Oropou) on 21 January 2017 with a head injury deliberately caused by human action. Fortunately, she recovered from her injury and was released on 10 August 2017 from Katafygio Beach in Attica.
‘Adonis’ had arrived from the nearby Alimos Marina on 20 May 2017. The turtle had no visible injuries and after being X-rayed, medically examined and receiving basic treatment, recovered his health and was released on 9 August 2017 from Zakynthos.
‘Vishpala’, a male loggerhead from Agia Marina in Chania, Crete, arrived on 5 June 2017 with an ingested hook. The hook was removed, the turtle regained his health, and was released on 11 August 2017 from Anavissos (Attica).
‘Yakinthi’, who had arrived at the RC on 26 April 2017 from nearby Varkiza in a debilitated condition and diagnosed with empaction, recovered her health and was released by boat into the Saronic Bay on 30 August 2017.
Did you know...
Sea turtles are wild animals and, if you happen to come across one while swimming or boating, they should not be fed. This practice has become increasingly common in Zakynthos, were tourist boat operators throw food into the sea to attract turtles. Besides the food being unhealthy for the turtles, it causes other problems as well. Turtles are usually not aggressive, but when they are accustomed to being fed by people, they may approach swimmers and create problems. Despite reporting these feeding incidents to the authorities in Zakynthos, the practice was continued. Unfortunately, one of the known turtles who has lived in that particular area of the Zakynthos sea for 15 years was killed by a speedboat which he had erroneously approached because he expected to be fed. For more information, see the article on the ARCHELON website at http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ourdeltia.php?row=row10&nid=933.