ΟUR NEWS

Rescue Center News

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events between 11 September and 31 October 2013.

During the month of September, 41 turtles were being treated at the RC!!! Unfortunately, this breaks the previous record of 39 set in 2011, although fortunately some releases have taken place (see below), bringing the number down to a more manageable (but still too high) 29. Since it costs about ?150 a month for food and medicine per turtle, donations (whether money, food and/or medical supplies) are greatly needed and much appreciated. If you would like to make a donation or help take care of the turtles by work as a RC volunteer, please contact Pavlo for details (rescue@archelon.gr or 210-8944444).

Turtle news

ʽNeraidaʼ (72,5 cm long carapace and weighing 39 kilos) came from Corfu on 12 September with flipper injuries (one front flipper was missing, and the other was injured).

Sir Manny Odysessus Coward IIIOn 18 September, ʽSir Manny Odysessus Coward IIIʼ arrived from Kefalonia. The huge male Caretta caretta (96 cm long carapace and weighing 98 kilos) was found and rescued through the combined efforts of the passengers of the boat which collided with the turtle, the local port police, and a local fisherman. The turtle was turned over to the Katelios group, who arranged for the turtleʼs transfer to the RC. The turtle had been tagged by a group of researchers in Albania on 13 July. (For details about this rescue, visit the website of the Katelios group http://www.kateliosgroup.org/latest-news/) Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing this sea turtle, which is the largest turtle ever treated at the RC. And, once again, special thanks to the Katelios group for their help and collaboration in rescuing injured sea turtles.

Also on 18 September, a tagged turtle, which was named ʽElpidaʼ, arrived at the RC from Naplion. This turtle (formerly called ʽEvangeliaʼ) had originally come to the RC in 2011 from Atalantos (Evia) with a head injury. That injury was successfully treated and she was released the same year. Her current X-rays show that she has ingested a number (around 10) of small hooks, which hopefully will pass through her body naturally with the help of special medication. Fortunately, the first person who happened to find her this time was a former ARCHELON field project leader, so the turtle received excellent first aid on the spot.

ʽTitoʼ (74 cm long carapace and weighing 42 kilos) came from Preveza also on 18 September, with a deep head injury. Many thanks once again to Stella for helping to rescue this turtle.

ʽRodanthiʼ, a tiny Caretta caretta measuring only 13 cm long, arrived on 20 October. She was found swimming inside a floating plastic bag near Hydra. (Yes, thatʼs right – a ʽbabyʼ Caretta caretta, found not far away in the Aegean or Ionion Sea, but right here in our own back yard, the Saronic Gulf, unfortunately the victim of a piece of rubbish! Itʼs a reminder to all of us to avoid using plastic bags if possible and if not, to be very careful about what we do with them.) ʽRodanthiʼ will be observed for a short time and released.

ʽMayaʼ, from Aitoliko, arrived and has been being treated since 28 July for a flipper injury. She recently had surgery to remove the flipper and is recovering in the big tank. ʽLydiaʼ had surgery to remove a hook she had ingested and is recovering quite well.

Two other surgeries are scheduled for this week: ʽChloeʼ (ingested hook) and ʽDobladoʼ (flipper amputation).

Unfortunately, two turtles, both of which had head injuries, did not survive. ʽIouniaʼ had been responding well to treatment, but was found dead in her tank one morning. ʽStavroulaʼ, who came from Thessaloniki, died the day after her arrival at the RC.

On the bright side, there were some releases: ʽMikaelaʼ, a turtle which had come to the RC on 16 May 2012 from Salamina with a head injury, was released on 17 September. ʽDimosʼ, who had come to the RC on 24 July 2013 from Messolonghi with an ingested hook, was released on 18 September. Sadly, he was found dead several weeks later near Cape Sounion. Also on the 18th, an attempt was made to release the small green turtle ʽDanaosʼ which had been treated for flipper injuries caused by fishing line entanglement, but it was unsuccessful. He will be given additional time in a big tank to strengthen his muscles.

Eva & AlexandrosOn 25 September, two turtles were released: ʽEvaʼ, which had come to the RC on 5 August from Koprena, Ambrakikos with an ingested long line which she managed to pass through her system naturally, and ʽAlexandrosʼ, which had come from Vonitsa on 22 July with a head injury. Around the same time, ʽIoannaʼ, which had come from Kavala on 5 July with a head injury, was also released.

Finally, three turtles were released by boat on 28 October: ʽMarinosʼ, who had come to the RC on 8 September from Agiokambos (near Larissa) with a head injury, a flipper injury, and an ingested hook, ʽMeropiʼ, who had come to the RC from Corfu on 12 August with a head injury, and ʽIriniʼ, who had come to the RC from Aitoliko (Messolonghi) on 28 July with a head injury and ingested hook. Many thanks to the Aqua Diverʼs Club for providing their boat for the releases.

Did you know...

ʽRodanthiʼ is not the only turtle treated at the RC which has been a victim of ʽplastic pollutionʼ. Former volunteers or RC visitors may remember the green turtle whose head had been trapped inside a plastic bag and he was in danger of losing both his eyes, if not his life, and ʽArsidaʼ who had a large piece of plastic milk crate entangled on a fishing line around her flipper, just to name two. Plastic pollution is a huge problem for marine life and sea birds all over the world. One ʽitemʼ of plastic we may not think twice about but which is very harmful to marine life is balloons. When they are released into the air, they are often carried by the winds over the sea, where they eventually land and are sometimes eaten by animals who mistake them for food.

There are many reports about plastic pollution on the internet. If you want to get an idea of the size of the problem, you can take a look at this study, conducted in an area in the northeastern US. http://www.blueoceansociety.org/Research/pollution_research.html It lists the types of plastic items found in the sea and the numbers of each which were found in the ocean over a three-year period. Balloons are right up at the top of the lists, along with plastic bags.

Joanne Stournara

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