Rescue Center News

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in October?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1 October- 7 November 2014

Number of turtles currently being treated: 31

We are sorry to report that this year we have more injured turtles than can fit in the greenhouse, where they are kept safe and warm during the winter months. Once again this year, many of the sea turtles had severe head injuries (most of them seemingly caused by deliberate human action), which take a long time to heal and a long time for the turtles to regain their health and be able to dive and eat by themselves. Fortunately, the weather has been good so far and the outdoor tanks are still being used by turtles which are scheduled to be released soon. However, tanks have once again been installed in the supply wagon for those turtles which wonʼt be able to fit in the greenhouse.

Turtle news


Despite the time of year, unfortunately, injured turtles are still arriving regularly at the RC.

ʽYiannisʼ, a Caretta caretta whose carapace measures 78 cm and who weighs 60 kilos, arrived at the RC on 2 October 2014 from Naxos with ingested hooks. His story is an interesting one: During the summer, tourists reported a turtle in trouble in the harbor at Agia Anna on the island of Naxos. (The turtle was well known to residents and tourists alike because of his habit of coming to the harbor every afternoon around 5 oʼclock to eat the fish discarded there by local fisherman.) With the help of Yiannis Orfanos, a member of the Naxos Wildlife Protection Society, we investigated the matter, and Yiannis was able to capture the turtle and send him to the RC, where it was discovered that he had ingested nearly 30 small hooks, part of a long line used by coastal fishermen. He was successfully operated on, and the hooks and line were removed. He is now in a big tank, waiting to be returned to his island for release. Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing this turtle.
(For more info and photos, see https://www.facebook.com/ProstasiaAgriasZoesNaxou)

ʽRaniaʼ arrived at the RC from Kimi on 5 October 2014. She is a Caretta caretta with a 35 cm carapace and weighing just 5 kilos. She was found with a line coming out of her mouth. The port police, wanting to speed up her transport to Athens, found a driver of a petrol truck who was returning to Athens and who agreed to take the turtle with him. We assumed that there was a hook attached to the line, but after being X-rayed, we discovered that she had no hooks, making it difficult to estimate the amount of line that she had ingested. (As we have reported previously, ingested lines are actually more dangerous and can do more harm to the turtles than do ingested hooks.) It was also discovered that her front left flipper was severely damaged, possibly due to having been entangled in fishing line, and will have to be amputated.

ʽPanagiotaʼ, a Caretta caretta whose carapace measures 61 cm and who weighs 21 kilos, arrived at the RC on 19 October 2014 from Katakolo with a head wound and an injured flipper. The turtle was found stranded on the beach by the port police. When it was discovered on her X-ray that she had something stuck in her esophagus (possibly sand or a sponge), we suspected that she might have been caught in a net, dragged along the sea floor and, when she was pulled to the surface, her head was struck by the boat propeller. She is still in critical condition, and we hope that she will survive.
Because of the conscientiousness of the Katakolo port police, ʽPanagiotaʼ arrived at the RC in ʽfirst classʼ style: They had arranged for an especially constructed box to ensure the turtleʼs safe transport to Athens. Many thanks to them for their excellent cooperation and concern for the turtleʼs well-being. The box will be returned to them in case it is needed to help other injured turtles in future.

ʽAchiliaʼ a Caretta caretta whose carapace measures 74 cm and who weighs 37 kilos, arrived at the RC on 19 October 2014 from Corfu with a severe head injury which seems to have been deliberately inflicted by human hands. The injury doesnʼt appear to be too deep, but itʼs very big; hopefully, because the wound is shallow, she will recover.

ʽMelinaʼ arrived at the RC from Corfu on 29 October 2014. She is a Caretta caretta with a 76 cm carapace and weighing 42 kilos. She has a deep head injury, one which seems to have deliberately been caused by human action. Her condition is critical, and itʼs too early to make any prognosis about how she will do.

ʽPavloʼ, who had been released on 29 September in the Saronic Bay, was found in Kolimbari, near Chania, Crete. (You may recall that this is the turtle, originally from Arta, which had had a 15-cm nail driven through his head! He also had a flipper injury.) This time, he was rescued by a person called Giorgos, with help from the Snake Protection Society of Chania, who provided a box and arranged for the turtle to be sent to Souda, where he was put on the ferry to Athens. Itʼs comforting to know that the turtle had managed to travel so far since his release. RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros will try to get more detailed information about whether the turtle had been found stranded on the beach or whether he was having trouble swimming or diving. He has no visible injuries and is diving and feeding well in his tank. In any case, he will be X-rayed, examined and observed again to see how soon he can be returned to the sea. His rescuers have created a Facebook page where you can see photos, etc. http://www.real.gr/DefaultArthro.aspx?page=arthro&id=364719&catID=5&mode=tab

ʽAntonisʼ is a Caretta caretta which arrived at the RC on 1 November 2014 from Preveza. He has an extremely severe head injury, as do many turtles who come from that area, deliberately caused by an irresponsible human being. RC volunteers had managed to stop the hemorrhaging from the wound for a while, but at the time of this writing, it had started hemorrhaging again. We are all praying that he will make it.


Five turtles recovered from their injuries and were released:

ʽChristoforosʼ, who had come to the RC on 11 May 2014 from Lefkada with a head injury, was released on 13 October 2014.

ʽCeciliaʼ, who had come to the RC on 27 August 2014 from Kalamata with an ingested hook, was released on 14 October 2014.

ʽNikiʼ, who had come to the RC on 29 August 2014 from Skopelos with an ingested line, was released on 14 October 2014.

ʽMariaʼ, who had come to the RC on 1 September 2014 from Mylos with an ingested hook, was released on 29 October 2014.

ʽFotiniʼ, who had come to the RC on 27 July 2014 from Nafplio with a head injury, was released on 29 October 2014.

ʽArtemisʼ, who had come to the RC on 12 August 2014 from Amvrakikos with a flipper injury, was released on 6 October 2014.

ʽIliasʼ, who had come to the RC on 31 May 2014 from Preveza with a head injury, was released on 6 October 2014.

Did you know...

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was in Athens for several days and kindly offered their ship to release “Artemis” and “Ilias”. To see some photos of the release, visit the Greenpeace FB page (scroll down to 7th October). https://www.facebook.com/Greenpeace.Rainbow.Warrior

How you can help the turtles at the Rescue Centre:
Symbolically adopt a turtle – your donation will help pay for the food and medical supplies needed for the turtles being treated at the RC. http://www.archelon.gr/eng/sponsoreaturtle.php?row=row9

Donations of food for the turtles and medical supplies can be dropped off at the RC (get more information about this here. http://www.archelon.gr/eng/pedio_rescue.php?row=row5

Visit the RC during the hours itʼs open to the public (every Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.) to see and learn about the turtles and the work being done there.

Get yourself a t-shirt or another souvenir from the RC reception area or online. http://www.archelon.gr/eng/gifts.php?row=row11

Make a donation online. http://www.archelon.gr/eng/donations.php
If you are a teacher, arrange for a class field trip to the RC.

Volunteer to help out several hours a week at the RC. (Contact RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros at 69728779626972877962.)

Special thanks

Because of the Aqua Divers Club (http://www.aquadiversclub.gr/), we have been able to release 12 turtles this year back to the sea. For several years now, Aqua Divers have been providing their boat to release small turtles or turtles missing a flipper far out into the Saronic Bay, where they have a better chance of reaching open waters. They also support ARCHELON in a number of other ways, including donating a portion of the fees charged to clients for diving courses. In addition, ARCHELON has been able to run an environmental education programme at the Rescue Centre with schools from abroad in association/cooperation with Aqua Divers. Besides the volunteer work these students do at the RC as part of the programme, they have continued to raise awareness about the turtles and to support the RC through fund-raising in their schools.

Joanne Stournara


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