Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events between 27th October and 30th November 2012.
ʽGiorgosʼ, a 40.5-kilo Caretta caretta, arrived from Corfu on 29 October. ʽGiorgosʼ, who had a head injury and multiple wounds on his carapace, was rescued and cared for by several persons prior to his transfer to the RC, which was arranged by the port police. The turtle was named after the place where he was found, Agios Giorgos. All his injuries seem to have been deliberately inflicted by someone and not caused by a collision with a boat or rocks. Since his arrival, ʽGiorgosʼ has been receiving a course of treatment which includes antibiotics and drips. Last week, he started eating fish fed to him by hand, which is always a good sign. Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing ʽGiorgosʼ and for coming to the RC to see how he is progressing.
ʽPhoebeʼ, a 19-kilo Caretta caretta, arrived on 29 October from Thessaloniki. She also had a head injury, and is being treated with antibiotics and drips.
ʽEviʼ, a 42-kilo Caretta caretta with a head injury, arrived on 4 November from Aigio. The turtle was found by Loukas and his father while they were walking along the beach. They informed the port police, who arranged for the turtleʼs transfer to the RC, where she is being treated. Many thanks to Loukas and his dad for rescuing the turtle and for coming to the RC to see how ʽEviʼ is progressing.
And, of course, many thanks to the port police who helped rescue these turtles as well as to the port police all over Greece who collaborate with ARCHELON on a daily, year-round basis to rescue injured sea turtles and to gather valuable data on stranded turtles.
ʽNioniosʼ was released from Legrena Beach on 19 November 2012. He was accompanied to the site by RC volunteers, who all wished him the best of luck on his return to the sea. To watch a video of the release of Nionios and Polychronis (see last report), use this link: http://vimeo.com/54216929
The six large, outdoor tanks are still being used, but not for long: both ʽSofiaʼ and ʽFrosoʼ are well enough to be released this year, most likely next week, weather permitting. The turtles in the other tanks (ʽParisʼ, ʽAdrianoʼ, ʽMariaʼ and ʽMarinaʼ) will be put back into their tanks in the ʽgreenhouseʼ to keep them – along with the other turtles being treated – safe and warm during the winter months.
Unfortunately, two turtles died during the period of this report: ʽPetrosʼ, a large male Caretta caretta with a severe head injury and who had also been shot (See previous report for details.), and ʽKaterinaʼ, who was being treated for a severe head injury since her arrival at the RC last summer.
In addition, a severely injured turtle from Porto Lagos which had been rescued by staff members of the Management Agency in that area did not manage to survive. The turtle had a visible head injury and had been treated by local veterinarians prior to being sent to the RC. However, a necropsy revealed that in addition to its head injury, the turtle had ingested two large hooks and a piece of plastic (see photo).
ARCHELON would like to thank that Management Agency for their excellent collaboration all year long and for their interest in saving endangered sea turtles by providing RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros with the opportunity of travelling to the area to train their staff and to speak to local fishermen. This is a very important opportunity since the area of northeastern Greece covered by the Management Agency encompasses a major feeding ground for sea turtles, and in which a large number of sea turtles are unfortunately found dead every year. (For example, so far this year, 55 dead turtles were reported from the Alexandroupolis area alone, which is approximately 10% of the total number reported in Greece.)
Please remember that...
- you can purchase your Christmas presents at our main office in Athens as well as the Rescue Centre.
- the Centre will not be open for the public on the following weekends: 22-23/12, 29-30/12 and 5-6/1/2013.
Like all other reptiles, sea turtles are exothermic, which means they are affected by the temperature of the environment they happen to be in. During the winter, if the water temperature is lower than 13-15o C, turtles become lethargic. They are not able to swim as much or as quickly, they stay underwater in a dormant state for longer periods without coming to the surface to breathe, and they donʼt eat as often as they do in warmer weather. At the Rescue Centre, the water temperature of each tank is carefully monitored every day and, during the cold winter months, special heaters are placed in each tank to keep the water temperature at a safe level.
In the wild, turtles seasonally migrate to areas where temperatures are warmer, where food is plentiful, and where there are beaches suitable for nesting. Many studies about sea turtle migratory behaviour are available on the internet, such as the recently published paper by Italian researcher Paolo Casale, Spatio-temporal distribution and migration of adult male loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean Sea: further evidence of the importance of neritic habitats off North Africa https://sites.google.com/site/paolofcasale/