Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (April 2016)?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1-30 April 2016.
Number of turtles currently being treated: 24
April was a busy month at the RC. Due to the unseasonably warm weather, it was possible to move turtles into the big, outdoor tanks earlier than usual. During April 2016, no turtles died at the RC, but nearly 50 stranded turtles were reported throughout Greece. (This large number of reports may be due to the fact that many people were out and near the sea during the Greek Orthodox Easter holidays.)
The good weather also made it possible to release a turtle this month (“Retsina” - see below for more information).
Three new turtles arrived at the Rescue Centre for treatment, two of which were sent to us from Samos by Archipelago, a local organization with whom ARCHELON cooperates. Both turtles were very emaciated and had injuries on their eyes and nose (cause unknown). Both also had a huge amount of barnacles and parasites, and sunken-in plastrons (See more information below).
‘Leon’ arrived on the 5 April 2016 from Samos. The loggerhead (73 cm-long carapace and weighing 32 kilos) was very emaciated and had injuries on his eyes and nose. He had a huge amount of barnacles and parasites, and a sunken-in plastron. If that wasn’t bad enough, X-rays showed that he also had an injured flipper! He is weak and getting as much care as possible. He was cleaned, given antibiotics and drips, and is being tube fed. It’s too early to tell if he will survive or not. Many thanks to Archipelago for their efforts to save this turtle.
‘Irini’ arrived on 24 April 2016 from Samos. The turtle was very emaciated and had injuries on her nose and eyes, as well as being infested with barnacles and parasites. She was given first aid and a drip, but unfortunately died the next day. Her condition might have been caused by hypothermia or, possibly, plastic ingestion We hope that the necropsy performed by the vet will give us some answers. Many thanks to Archipelago for their efforts to save this turtle.
‘Kavouri’, (carapace length 40 cm and weight 10 kilos) arrived on 24 April from Kavouri, a nearby Attica beach. He was found by spear-gun fishermen off the coast and was brought to the RC by one of the people who found him. He had ingested a hook and line, which was coming out of his mouth, as well as a large injury on the back of his carapace. As soon as his condition stabilizes, surgery will be performed to remove the hook and line. Thanks to the people who rescued this turtle.
“Retsina”, the green turtle who arrived on 4 October 2015 from Volos with a very severe head injury
and whose survival was uncertain, was released by boat into the Saronic Gulf on 28 April 2016, the first turtle released this year. Fortunately, she made a remarkable recovery (due to the great deal of care she received to keep the wound constantly clean and free of infection). Thanks to everyone who cared for this turtle!
On 8 April, Nikolaos, a diving instructor from Ierapetra, Crete called the RC to inform them about an injured turtle he had found. The turtle had ingested a hook, which was visible in his jaw. Nikolas removed the hook himself, and, after talking to Pavlo Tsaros by phone, it was decided that the turtle was well enough to be released immediately. Many thanks to Nikolaos for saving this turtle.
On 2 April 2016 The Greek Volunteers’ group continued their tradition of decorating the special candles (‘lambades’) used on Easter Eve as part of the celebration of Greek Orthodox Easter. Many visitors to the RC received a ‘lambada’ as thanks for their donation to help care for the turtles.
On 10 April 2016, the town of Glyfada organized s special celebration, in collaboration with ARCHELON. ARCHELON volunteers took part in a relay race, and had an information table in the town square.
The annual Let’s do it (letsdoit.org) nationwide clean-up event took place this year on 17 April 2016. In the Glyfada area, various local organizations took part in picking up rubbish from the sea all the way up to the mountains, with ARCHELON being responsible for cleaning up the beach near the RC.
On 22 April 2016, to celebrate Earth Day, RC volunteers held a public awareness campaign on the beach at Glyfada. A number of local people who used the beach right next to the RC hadn’t known about ARCHELON and the RC, so the campaign was successful.
On 24 April 2016, another favourite Greek Orthodox tradition which our non-Greek volunteers enjoyed was dyeing Easter eggs. Like the ‘lambades’, red eggs are a part of traditional Greek Orthodox Easter celebration. Theoni, the ARCHELON Volunteer Co-ordinator, kindly made her home available for this.
Did you know...
During the clean up on the beach, the biggest amount of trash collected was plastic-related, including straws. It’s obvious to everyone that recycling plastics is not enough; a better solution is REDUCING our use of plastics. There are lots of articles on the internet about alternative solutions, for example: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1240116767/edible-cutlery-the-future-of-eco-friendly-utensils?ref=project_tweet, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/917069/university-develops-leak-proof-food-bowls-from-leaves, http://www.offgridquest.com/green/biodegradable-coffee-cups. Also, they even sell stainless steel straws, which are reusable. To find out where you can get some, just search the internet.
Let’s not forget the danger caused by cigarette butts: “Cigarette butts contain all the carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, and nicotine that make tobacco use the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, yet they are commonly, unconsciously and inexcusably dumped by the trillions (5.6 trillions and counting) into the global environment each year.” For the full article, see http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/20/Suppl_1/i1.full