Our volunteer at the Rescue Center, Joanne Stournara, updates us on the events in January-February 2018.
“For most of history, man has had to fight Nature to survive; in this century, he is beginning to realize that in order to survive, he must protect It.”
Jacques Yves Cousteau
During the winter months, sea turtles suffering from hypothermia are often found and treated at the RC. However, in January-February 2018, six of the ten turtle arrivals had head or throat injuries deliberately caused by human action, and four of the six came from the nearby island of Salamina. Unfortunately, four of the new turtles died as a result of their injuries shortly after their arrivals.
It has been estimated that only 1-2 sea turtle hatchlings out of 1,000 survive NATURAL predators and dangers to reach the age of reproductive maturity (about 20 years). If we add in the obstacles caused by HUMAN actions, such as nesting beach destruction, sea pollution (plastics, oil spills, toxic chemicals, etc.), certain fishing practices, commercial exploitation, non-enforcement of laws designed to protect the turtles, and deliberate attempts to kill the turtles . . .
January: Megan (England), Reece (England), Lucy (England), Lucia (Spain), Laura (Ireland),Camille (France), Vicky (England)
February: Christel (Switzerland), Joeri (Netherlands), Shauna (Ireland), Lore (Belgium), Monia (Belgium), Camille (USA), Eileen (Austria)
January: Jun (Korea), Meg (England), Omar (Italy)
February: Laura (Ireland), Reece (England), Lucy (England), Christel (Switzerland), Joeri (Netherlands), Vicky (England), Eileen (Austria)
First, we would like to thank everyone involved in the rescue of these injured sea turtles. Without your concern, sense of social responsibility, and efforts, these animals (which are protected by local and international law) are given a chance to receive proper treatment and to recover from their injuries.
‘Panagiota’, the first turtle to arrive at the RC in 2018, arrived on 10 January from Igoumenitsa. The loggerhead, whose carapace measured 68 cm and who weighed 38 kilos, had no visible injuries, but was very weak and stressed. X-rays revealed that the turtle had a very severe lung infection. She was treated for this, but unfortunately had been rescued too late, and died on 12 January 2018.
‘Roza’ arrived at the RC on 23 January 2018 from the nearby island of Aegina. The turtle was a small loggerhead, with a carapace length of 26 cm and weighing just 2 kilos. The turtle had no visible injuries but was very weak. She was given emergency treatment, but unfortunately died on 25 January 2018.
‘Themis’ arrived from Aianteio, Salamina, on 28 January 2018 with a very severe head injury deliberately caused by human action. The turtle’s carapace length was 55 cm, and she weighed 18.5 kilos. Unfortunately, the turtle died on 30 January 2018 as a result of her injuries.
‘Eirini’ arrived on 30 January 2018 from Voukari, Salamina with a head injury. The turtle’s carapace measures 56.5 cm and she weighs 18 kilos. Fortunately, the wound is not very deep; ‘Eirini’ is very active, and being tubefed at the moment. We believe that in time and with proper care, she may recover her health and be re-introduced into the sea.
‘Anastasia’ arrived at the RC on 2 February 2018 via the Exotic & Wild Animal Unit (Head of unit Ms. N. Komninou) of the veterinary school at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where she had received emergency treatment. The turtle, whose carapace measures 80 cm and who weighs 48 kilos, was originally rescued from Nea Mihaniona, Thermaikos. She has a very deep, severe head injury deliberately caused by human action. After five days of treatment, the wound stopped bleeding, and her condition is now more stable. However, she is unable to eat on her own and is being tubefed. Her condition is so severe that no predictions can be made about whether or not she will survive. Many thanks to Dr. Korminou and her staff for their efforts to save this turtle.
‘Jade’, was the first green turtle to arrive at the RC in 2018. She arrived on 4 February 2018 from Salamina with a very deep neck wound caused deliberately caused by human action. The turtle, whose carapace length was 46.5 cm and who weighed 12.0 kilos, was very weak, and only her eyes responded when she was being examined and treated. Despite the great efforts to save her, unfortunately, she died on 5 February 2018 as a result of her injuries.
‘Hermioni’ was found at Agios Sostis, Zakynthos, and sent to the RC on 8 February 2018 by the staff at the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. X-rays revealed that the loggerhead had two ingested hooks: The top one was easily removed because of its location; the second hook was deeper in the turtle’s body. Fortunately, the veterinarian was able to surgically remove both hooks. ‘Hermioni’ is recovering well, including eating on her own, and is a good candidate for re-introduction into the sea this year.
‘Priamos’, a male loggerhead whose carapace measures 78.0 cm and who weighs 51.5 kilos, was rescued by the port police on Syros Island. The turtle, who has a head injury deliberately caused by human action, arrived at the RC on 14 February 2018. It is worth mentioning that the Syros Port Police were intensively involved with rescuing and caring for this turtle: They immediately took ‘Priamos’ to a local vet for emergency treatment, and then, while still at the veterinarian’s office, called Eirini (the Rehabilitation & Rescue Network Coordinator at the RC) so that she could speak directly with the vet. In addition, the Port Police personally drove ‘Priamos’ to the port, where they waited with him for an hour until the arrival of the ferry boat to Lavrio, and did not leave until the turtle was safely aboard.
We would like to greatly thank Warrant Officer K. Printezis, and members of his team for their exemplary collaboration and concern about saving an endangered wild animal. Mr Printezis even called the RC the next day to check on how the turtle was doing!
‘Georgina’ arrived on 15 February 2018 from Salamina. The female loggerhead, whose carapace measures 67 cm and who weighs 35 kg, has a head injury deliberately caused by human action. The Salamina port police immediately notified the RC when they found the severely injured turtle. After speaking with Eirini, the Salamina port police team personally transported the turtle (by car and by ferry) to Perama, and waited there to transfer ‘Georgina’ to the ARCHELON volunteers. Besides thanking the Salamina port police for their great collaboration and concern, we would also like to thank them for ‘going the extra mile’ to help this turtle.
‘Kreon’ arrived at the RC from Kythnos on 17 February 2017. The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 35 cm and who weighs 6.3 kilos, had no visible injuries (except for a scar on his flipper from previous entanglement with a fishing line or net, but was weak and emaciated, and looked ready to die. X-rays did not show any problems, so it was believed that the turtle most likely had ingested a fishing line. He was treated with pharmaceutical oils to help, and succeeded in passing the fishing line naturally. He is now eating on his own, which is a good sign, so hopefully he will recover his health in time.
Update on Turtles already at the RC
‘Sylvan’ who had arrived emaciated on 23 September 2017 from Zakynthos with an ingested hook and fishing line AND head and plastron injuries, is now doing much better. In February 2018, with the help of pharmaceutical oils, she passed the fishing line naturally, but is still being hand fed because she is not yet able to dive. The ingested hook has not been removed because of its location. Fortunately, the size of the hook is not too dangerous because of the turtle’s size, but she is being monitored and discussions are underway to decide what further action can be taken.
‘Miryna’, a loggerhead with a head injury deliberately caused by human action, had arrived at the RC on 18 September 2017 from St. Pavlos beach on the island of Limnos. The turtle had been found and rescued by ARCHELON staff and volunteers attending the funeral of the late Pavlos Tsaros, ARCHELON Rescue Network and Rehabilitation Officer for over ten years. Unfortunately, ‘Miryna’ died on 5 January 2018 as a result of her injuries.
‘Agapi’ had arrived at the RC on 29 September 2017 from Souda with a very severe head injury deliberately caused by human action. Unfortunately, the loggerhead died on 13 January 2018 as a result of her injuries.
Did you know...
Some sea turtles of different species are known to mate and produce viable hybrid offspring! There are a number of scientific articles available on the internet about this. For example, a research study conducted in Brazil entitled Comparison of reproductive output of hybrid sea turtles and parental species by Soares et al (2017) and published in the journal Marine Biology, studied the offspring of loggerheads and hawksbill turtles. You can download a free PDF of the article from: