Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 18th April-17th May 2013.
At the moment there are 27 turtles at the RC, and things are very busy.
ʽMarkosʼ arrived at the RC on 25th April from Chania, Crete. Although he weighs only 5.2 kilos and his carapace measures 39 cm, he has a number of injuries. His most serious problem is the fishing line he ingested (no hook was found in his X-ray), which causes severe damage to a turtleʼs intestinal track. He may also lose his right front flipper, which has a severe injury possibly caused by being entangled in a fishing line and, as if that were not enough, also has various carapace injuries, which are worrying but being treated. We donʼt know how much line he actually ingested since fishing line doesnʼt show up on X-rays, but a piece was found sticking out of his mouth.
ʽDoraʼ is a small Caretta caretta who arrived from Corfu on 2nd May. She had ingested a hook and line, and was very weak when found. She has gotten a bit stronger, but is still too weak for surgery to remove the hook.
ʽGlykeriaʼ arrived on 13rd May from Preveza with a very severe head injury. She was rescued by Pela, a member of a local animal welfare organization who has worked with ARCHELON in the past. ʽGlykeriaʼ was fortunate to receive first aid the very same day she was found, and was looked after and carefully treated for several days until the Easter break was over and there was room to transport ʽGlykeriaʼ by bus from Preveza to the Rescue Centre. Many thanks to Pela and everyone else involved in rescuing this turtle.
At the time of this writing, another injured turtle was just found in Thessaloniki. It will be transferred to the Aristotle University, where a team from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will do blood tests and provide first aid treatment before the turtle is sent here to the RC.
ʽLazarosʼ and ʽIonasʼ have been operated on, and the hook each had ingested was successfully removed. They are recovering well, have started to eat by themselves, and will be released soon.
ʽEviʼ and ʽSpirosʼ have been moved to big tanks, where their swimming, diving, and feeding behavior will be monitored daily. If all goes well, they will be released soon.
ʽKiaraʼ and ʽGiorgosʼ have been moved into big tanks and are under observation.
Sadly, another turtle died very shortly after its arrival. The turtle had no visible injuries, more details will be available after a necropsy has been performed.
At the time of this writing, the RC was preparing for this yearʼs celebration of International Turtle Day on 26 May. More information about that will be posted on the website.
Did you know...
Trawling is a major cause of sea turtle (as well as many other species) mortality worldwide and not just in Greece, since turtles who cannot escape from trawling nets, will inevitability drown. (In fact, one of the turtles who recently died at the RC, ʽTitoʼ, was probably a trawling victim.) This fishing practice is believed to be a key factor behind the destruction of the marine environment in general, resulting, among other things, in the diminishing number of fish in the sea. Information about trawling and efforts to regulate it through international legislation can be found on the internet, for example at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/bottom-trawling/ .
There are some special devices which provide a way for large animals like turtles and sharks to swim out of the nets. The original design was called ʽTurtle Excluding Deviceʼ (TED), and a more recent innovation is known as ʽTrash and Turtle Excluding Deviceʼ (TTED). Nets fitted with these devices are used in some places at some times of the year, but there is not international legislation regarding them. Information and photos of these devices can be found on the internet, for example at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_excluder_device.