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Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in February?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 12 January 2015-27 February 2015.

Number of turtles currently being treated: 23

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in February?

Jean Denis, the volunteer from Belgium, made the trip across Europe from his home to Athens by bicycle. To learn more about this trip, see his website https://europavelo.wordpress.com/.

Ben, the returning volunteer from Canada, once again helped out at the RC. Heʼs travelling around the world, and the RC in Athens was one of his stops. At the time of this writing, heʼs on his way to Morocco.

Turtle news

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in February?For several reasons, more injured turtles than usual at this time of the year are being admitted to the Rescue Centre for treatment. The instability of the climate is one cause, possibly along with new legislation allowing trawling for ʽresearch purposesʼ. (See “Did you know...” below for more information.)

ʽVassilisʼ, a 41 kilo Caretta caretta, arrived on 12 January from Pireaus; He was found in the harbor in a very inactive condition, probably cold-stunned. He was X-rayed and found to have no ingested hooks. Unfortunately, he died on 15 January, probably due to hypothermia.
ʽNicolettaʼ, a juvenile green turtle with a head injury, arrived from Rhodes on 16 January. She had been found earlier and kept at the Marine Research Centre in Rhodos before being sent to the RC. So far she is doing quite well, but is still unable to eat on her own.

ʽPriscillaʼ, a very small loggerhead was sent from the Natural History Museum of Iraklio, Crete on 13 February; unfortunately, she died in transit, most likely due to hypothermia. She had no visible injuries and was probably cold-stunned.

ʽElpidaʼ, another small loggerhead, arrived at the RC on 19 February from Santorini, where she had been looked after by a local vet. She was picked up from the port in Athens by one of our local volunteers, John. She also had no visible injuries and was probably cold-stunned. She died a few days after her arrival, probably due to hypothermia, on 23 of February.

ʽAlexandraʼ, a green turtle (carapace 57 cm long, weight: 29.5 kilos) with a head injury that had been intentionally caused by human action, arrived from Rhodes on 26 February. She had been found earlier and kept at the Marine Research Centre in Rhodos before being sent to the RC. Her head injury is a deep one, but she has no ingested hooks and so far she is doing well.

Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing, caring for, and transporting these turtles.

Deaths

Besides the three turtle deaths reported above, one of the turtles being treated at the RC for a head injury, ʽChrissoulaʼ, died as a result of her injury.

Other news

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in February?The recently formed Greek Volunteers Group led by Dino, the current Zakynthos Project Co-ordinator, organized a special Apochries event for children at the RC on Sunday, 22 February. A separate article about the event is being prepared at the moment and will be posted on the website, but we would like to report that the day was a big success! Many thanks to all the volunteers and ARCHELON staff members who organized and/or worked at the event.

Some of the turtles that were being tube-fed (i.e. when pureed food is fed to a turtle via a tube inserted directly into its stomach), were switched to force-feeding (i.e. when pieces of food are placed directly in the animalʼs mouth, causing the animal to chew and swallow the food). Force-feeding is a means of encouraging turtles to eat by themselves. Some turtles have responded well to this procedure, and we hope they will start eating by themselves soon.

Did you know...

Trawling is a controversial fishing technique in which large quantities of fish and other sea animals (including turtles) are caught in nets dragged along the bottom of the sea. A large percentage of the sea life caught in the nets is not commercially valuable and the dead, unwanted fish, sponges, and other varieties of sea life are dumped back into the sea. As if this destruction was not bad enough, the entire sea floor is negatively impacted and damaged by this practice. Unfortunately, a recent change in Greek law which went into effect at the end of 2014 allows trawling ʽfor research purposesʼ to take place at this time of year, a critical time for fish reproduction. For more information, watch some of the many videos available online (such as the two below) and/or google ʽtrawlingʼ.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU6AC_oeXg8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUkgrwhuhe8

Joanne Stournara

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