Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in March 2015?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1 March - 31 March 2015.
Volunteer news: Three volunteers have returned to the RC for a week: Anja, Julia (Germany) and Nina (Sweden). They always fit right back into the team and are happy to find out that ʽtheirʼ turtles have gotten well and been released.
Six of the 22 turtles being treated at the RC are now doing well and are expected to be released in early spring, once the weather improves. This means that they are able to dive and eat by themselves.
Three of our long-term residents, ʽDionysiosʼ, ʽParisʼ and ʽPiouʼ, are actively in search of new homes and we hope that they will be leaving us in the next few months. (We are always looking for aquariums both inside Greece and abroad which can ʽre-homeʼ our non-releasable turtles. If you know of any aquarium which has space available for a sea turtle, please let us know.)
We are happy to report that despite his handicaps, ʽPiouʼ has been growing well. His carapace now measures 38 cm, which is double the size he was when he arrived in 2012 (19.5 cm), and he now weighs 6.75 kilos, up from the 140 grams he weighed upon arrival.
For a time after her arrival in mid-January, ʽNicolettaʼ, a juvenile green turtle with a head injury, had been too weak to eat any solids and was on fluid therapy. (This means that she received nourishment through lactose and dextrose drips.) We are glad to report that she was tube-fed for the first time in early March and seems to be responding well. Her head is almost completely healed; she doesnʼt eat by herself yet, but is getting stronger and more active. She has now started to eat food fed to her by hand, which is always a good sign.
ʽAchilliaʼ, who had arrived on 19 Oct 2014 from Corfu with a relatively shallow head injury, has started to eat by herself and should be ready to be released this summer.
ʽZachariasʼ, who arrived on 2 Jan 2015 from Crete with a severe head injury intentionally inflicted by human hands, is still in critical condition.
ʽRoussaʼ, the turtle who came from Zakynthos last autumn, is starting to eat well when fed by hand and seems to have expelled all the plastic we suspect she had ingested (see photo).
ʽAristidesʼ, who arrived on 21 Dec 2014 with hypothermia from nearby Alimos, is starting to eat by himself, which is a good sign.
ʽAlexandraʼ, a green turtle who arrived from Rhodes on 26 February with a head injury that had been intentionally caused by human action, is starting to be tube-fed.
ʽGeorgiaʼ, a small Caretta caretta weighing just 120 grams, arrived on 21 March from Oropos with a flipper injury. She was found and named by a local resident. Her injury is healing and she has a good appetite, both of which are good signs.
ʽSheilaʼ, who had arrived at the RC on 22 Dec 2014 with a severe head injury, unfortunately died as a result of her injury.
Recently, the RC received a call that a small loggerhead sea turtle was stranded on the beach near Lagonisi. When the ARCHELON team arrived to investigate, they found that the turtle was already dead. Oddly enough, a land turtle was found wandering around on that same beach, an area far from its normal habitat – this turtle was alive and well, and was relocated to the mountain behind Glyfada.
Turtles with head injuries have a higher chance of dying than do turtles with other types of injuries, but efforts made by the RC team are increasing these turtlesʼ odds of survival little by little. In 2014, 37 turtles with head injuries were admitted to the RC; 11 of them were successfully treated and released, but unfortunately 26 died. This success ratio has been gradually improving each year due to new treatment techniques and practices.
The RC celebrated Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March by turning off all the lights during the appointed hour to show their support for protecting the planet. The global Earth Hour event is organized annually by the WWF www.worldwildlife.org/pages/earth-hour.
RC Co-ordinator Pavlos Tsaros was invited to a dinner by daily volunteer John Brickman, which turned out to be a social gathering with various people who love opera. They were very interested to hear about the RC, and the hostess Jeannette Pilou, made a generous donation to the RC. She is now retired, but was a world famous opera singer.
Did you know?
As mentioned in last monthʼs report, trawling is a fishing technique which has a negative impact on the sea environment and sea life in general. Since the last report was written, we have some good news: the recently-elected Greek government has repealed the law passed in 2014 by the previous government. The 2014 law had extended the trawling season, which allowed the use of trawling nets ʽfor research purposesʼ during the winter. So, once again, trawling is not permitted in Greek waters during the winter.
Turtles are often trapped in nets and drown because they canʼt surface to breath. However, there are special devices called Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) which can be fitted to nets so that turtles accidentally caught in the nets can get out without destroying the nets. The Devices also have benefits to fisherman, too. There is a lot of information about TEDs online; for example, these videos at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y71cgxmyMO4.