“To see a man’s true power, let him run free with nature. To see a man’s true nature, let him run free with power.” Unknown
It would have been a great holiday gift for ARCHELON if there were no new injured turtle arrivals at the RC in December. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Many thanks to all the full-time volunteers from abroad and to the local day volunteers for helping care for the turtles and for maintaining the facilities at the RC.
On 21 December 2017, ‘Nicholas’, an adult male loggerhead with a carapace measuring 71.0 cm and weighing 45.0, arrived from Kefallonia with a head injury deliberately caused by human action. Unfortunately, the turtle’s injuries were so severe that he did not survive the trip to the RC. We would like to thank the Kefalonia Wildlife Sense team (https://wildlifesense.com/en/) for rescuing and administering first aid to this turtle, and for their continued collaboration with the ARCHELON Rescue Center.
‘Zena’ arrived at the RC on 22 December 2017 and was the last turtle to arrive in 2017. ‘Zena’ is a small green turtle, whose carapace length is 22.5.5 cm and who weighs only 1.2 kilos. The turtle came from Kalymnos and had flipper injuries caused by entanglement with a fishing line. At the time of this writing, everything possible was being done to treat her injuries.
Thanks to the relatively mild winter weather, it was possible to release four rehabilitated turtles back into the sea in December!
‘Maua’ had arrived from Kefalonia on 9 August 2017. The turtle, who had ingested a hook and line, had been rescued by the Kefalonia Wildlife Sense team. The loggerhead was successfully rehabilitated and released by beach at Kakia Thalassa on 7 December 2017.
‘Myra’, a loggerhead who had arrived on 17 August 2017 from Amvrakikos with a fishing line coming out of its cloaca, was successfully treated and rehabilitated. ‘Myra’ was released on 7 December 2017 from Kakia Thalassa.
‘Nikos’ had arrived at the RC on 18 August 2017 from Preveza with a head injury deliberately caused by human action. Fortunately, the turtle was successfully treated and rehabilitated, and released back into the sea on 13 December 2017 from Kakia Thalassa beach.
‘Joufflu’, who had been rescued by the Kefalonia Wildlife Sense team on 13 October 2017, had two ingested fishing hooks and fishing line. The turtle was successfully treated and rehabilitated, and released by beach at Kakia Thalassa on 13 December 2017.
As usual, the annual ARCHELON Christmas luncheon was held at the RC. Members of the board, ARCHELON staff, full-time volunteers and many part-time volunteers (who had time off from their normal jobs at that time) attended and got into the holiday spirit with good food, games, stories, and the ‘secret Santa’ gift sharing.
A personal note
As the year ends, I can’t help but look back at 2017. It was a year of great change at the RC; some of the changes were... painful, and yet many of them were positive and inspirational. Perhaps it is not my place as a volunteer to express my feelings in the official report, but because 2017 was an exceptional year, I find that I must. If we hadn’t known it before, I think we all learned the hard way that ‘tomorrow is not a given’.
It was amazing to see the way all the family of ARCHELON volunteers and staff pulled together to keep the RC going after the sudden, devastating loss of our beloved Pavlos, and how all of us are determined to keep alive his love and passion for saving sea turtles. Eirini Kasmati has been doing a fantastic job in taking on all the responsibilities which were Pav’s, and Dimitris Fytilis has also been a stabilizing figure at the RC during this difficult time.
There were also other administrative changes at ARCHELON which were bittersweet. For example, Theoni, the Volunteer Co-ordinator for so many years, returned from her leave, but Hara, who had been filling in for her for the last year or so, left, just to mention one example.
It was also amazing to see how the sea turtles, despite terrible injuries, fight to stay alive, and against all odds, many of them succeed! It was inspiring to meet or hear reports of the many people who found injured turtles and who did so much to rescue them and to support their treatment. It is also a pleasure to know that many groups in different parts of Greece are doing so much to save not only endangered sea creatures, but also to save and rehabilitate other animals, their habitats, and the environment.
I would also personally like to thank Dino, the coordinator of the group ARCHELON Volunteers in Greece, for organizing so many events for us volunteers. The museum visits and other events he is mainly responsible for help keep the volunteers’ sense of ‘family’ alive and well. Thanks also to all the local volunteers for giving up their free time on the weekends to give tours of the RC, to those volunteer drivers who get up in the middle of the night to pick up an injured turtle from the port or bus terminal, to everyone who takes on various jobs to maintain the RC facilities, like gardening, painting wagons, repairing things, updating stranding reports, and all kinds of other jobs.
Many thanks to:
- all the people, animal conservation groups, ARCHELON Rescue Network members and Hellenic Port Police who helped rescue and care for these injured turtles.
- the dedicated local volunteers who help maintain the RC equipment, facilities, buildings/wagons, grounds, etc.
- the visitors to the RC for their support and interest in helping endangered sea turtles.
Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, prosperous, successful 2018 filled with love and happiness!