Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (October 2016)?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1-31 October 2016.
Turtles, turtles everywhere... still!
Even though the peak summer season is more or less over (i.e., people are back at work or school, many boats have been placed in dry dock, and the 2016 Caretta caretta hatchlings from Greece are all somewhere out at sea), more injured turtles are constantly arriving at the Rescue Centre! Visitors are surprised to see so many turtles in temporary outdoor tanks at this time of year. Fortunately, the weather has been favorable, and many of the turtles which had been treated have been rehabilitated, so they will be released into the sea, thus freeing up indoor tanks in the intensive care unit (‘the greenhouse’) for those turtles which will require treatment throughout the winter.
Both the long-term and daily ARCHELON volunteers have been very busy caring for the turtles and working to repair and maintain RC facilities. Without their hard work and enthusiasm, … well, MANY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!
On 1 October 2016, ‘Erica’ (a loggerhead who has a 67cm carapace and who weighs 35 kilos, was brought to the RC from Nafplio. The turtle has a serve head injury on the left side of her head, an injury which was intentionally inflicted by human hands. ‘Erica’ was found along with a number of dead turtles (also with head injuries) in Nafplio by Panos, an Athens resident who was on holiday there. Panos notified the port police and the ARCHELON RC and, after talking with the Rescue Network Coordinator Pavlos Tsaros, immediately decided to personally drive the turtle to Athens for treatment. At this time no prognosis can be made about her. We thank Panos for his great interest in helping save ‘Erica’, including visiting the RC to check on her progress and for adopting the turtle for one month!
‘Aphroditi’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 79.5 cm and who weighs 62 kilos, arrived on 2 October 2016 from Preveza with a head injury. The turtle, who was named after the ancient Greek goddess of love (known as ‘Venus’ to the Romans), was found by Vasilis, a former ARCHELON volunteer and a member of the ARCHELON Rescue Network. It is too early to make any predictions about her chances to survive.
‘Spyros’ arrived at the RC from Legrena on 9 October 2016. The small loggerhead’s carapace is 39.5 cm, and he weighs only 6.5 kilos. The turtle had an ingested hook and a line coming out of his mouth. X-rays show that the hook is located deep within his body, too far down to be surgically removed. The line was able to be removed, and hopefully he will be able to eliminate the hook naturally.
On 14 October 2016, ‘Iris’ arrived from Lefkimmi, Corfu, yet another turtle with a severe head injury intentionally inflicted by human hands. The turtle’s carapace is 56.5 cm, and she weighs 21 kilos. It is too early to make any prognosis about whether she will survive or not. (Note: ‘Iris’ was named after the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow.)
‘Lia’ arrived at the RC on 22 October 2016 with a severe head injury, yet another one which had been intentionally inflicted by human hands. She was found on a beach on the island of Tinos by a concerned resident, who notified the local port police; in turn, they notified the ARCHELON RC and arranged for her transport to Athens. It is too early to know whether she will survive.
We would like to thank everyone involved in helping to rescue these injured turtles.
Unfortunately, on 7 October 2016, ‘Costas’, who had arrived at the RC on 12 August 2016 from Ikaria with an ingested hook and line, had to be put down. The turtle had received surgery to remove the ingested hook, but it was impossible to remove the line. He received fluids and paraffin oil in the hope that the line would be eliminated naturally. However, he stopped eating and producing feces, and was taken for a second X-ray, which showed the line obstructing his intestine.
Fortunately, a number of turtles were rehabilitated and released back into the sea. We wish them all ‘fair winds and following seas’. Photos and more information about these and other turtle releases can be found on the official ARCHELON FB page. You can access the page via this link https://www.facebook.com/archelon.gr/posts/10154479381291328:0 or by a link on the ARCHELON website home page www.archelon.gr.
‘Lulu’ was found in Porto Germano and driven to the RC in July 2016 by a local resident. The turtle had ingested three hooks, all of which were located too deep in her body to be surgically removed. Fortunately, her treatment was successful, and she passed the hooks naturally. She was released on 7 October 2016.
‘Triantafillos’ (which means ‘rose’ in English), arrived at the RC on 8 August 2016 from Porto Heli (Peloponnese). The loggerhead was found to be suffering from pneumonia, received treatment and recovered his health in time to be released on 13 October 2016.
‘Persa’, who had a serious head injury which caused her neck to twist to one side, was rehabilitated and released on 13 October 2016.
‘Theo’, a small loggerhead , had arrived from Skiathos on 23rd August with an ingested hook, which was surgically removed on 25 August. He was successfully rehabilitated and released on 13 October. Many thanks to Olympic Air for transporting him to Athens.
‘Thoros’ was found and sent to the RC on 7 July 2016 by members of the ARCHELON Amvrakikos team. The turtle had ingested a hook and line. The turtle was successfully rehabilitated and released on 14 October 2016.
On 20 October 2016, ‘Vasilis’, who came to the RC on 14 August 2016 with an ingested hook, was successfully treated and released.
‘Penelope’, who had been found on 21 July 2016 in Skiathos with an ingested hook and line, was successfully treated and released on 20 October 2016. We would once again like to thank Aegean Air for transporting the turtle from Skiathos to Athens.
On 27 October 2016, ‘Panos’, who arrived from Syros on 15 July 2016 with two ingested hooks and lines, was successfully treated and released. Once again, we would like to thank Dr. M. Borissis of ARION for his help in rescuing and caring for this turtle.
Once again, thanks to everyone involved in rescuing, transport, caring for and releasing these turtles.
Despite the huge hole which had been deliberately chopped into her head by someone, ‘Eva’ is doing well! She is becoming more active and even trying to dive.
‘Alexandra’ is now able to dive in spite of her head injury, which is a sign that she is recovering well. She is also eating by herself, and spending more and more time on the bottom.
‘Lyda’, the small turtle who had an ingested line and a neck and flipper injury, is now able to dive and eat on her own! Hopefully, she will be released very soon. (Note: ‘Lyda’ was named after the mythological ancient Greek woman Leda, who was the mother of Castor, Pollux, Helen (of Troy) and Clytemnestra (wife of King Agamemnon) by the god Zeus, who came upon her in the form of a swan.
Did you know...
Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea), the largest and most unique members of the sea turtle family, are not often seen in Greek waters. However, on 16 October 2016, a young leatherback (i.e., its carapace was only 1.4 meters long and 90 cm wide!) was found stranded on a beach near Corinth. The cause of death was reported to be head and flipper injuries. Official photographs are not yet available, but when they are received from the port police, we will post them.
If you are interested in leatherbacks in the Mediterranean, there are a number of articles you can find on the internet, for example (both are downloadable PDFs, in English):
- Sea Turtles in the Mediterranean – Distribution, Threats and Conservation Priorities, ed P. Casale and D. Margaritoulis
(For those who may not know, I would like to point out that Dimitris Margaritoulis, co-author of both articles, is one of the founders of ARCHELON.)