Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events of the two weeks between 29th July and 9th August 2012.
During the month of August every year, the RC is closed to the public so that routine maintenance of the buildings and facilities can be done. To help with this, you do not have to make a long-term commitment to work at the Centre, but if you have some free time and would like to help with things like painting, gardening and groundskeeping (not only during August, but at any time during the year), please contact RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
To start with the good news, six turtles were released. ʽLouisaʼ had been rescued near Rethymno in early June by Christos (a local fisherman who has also rescued other turtles in the past), and had been recovering at the RC since then. She had been adopted by the Aquila Rithymna Beach hotel, which paid for all her food and medical expenses while she was being treated at the RC. The hotel also sponsored the costs involved in transporting her back to Rethymno, where she was released on 9th August, an event which was open to the public and which was reported on by the Greek TV channel SKAI.
ʽElefteriaʼ, who had come to the RC last August from Preveza with a head injury, was released at Legrena Beach. It is always a happy event when a turtle with that type of injury is rehabilitated and can resume its life in the sea.
Two other turtles were released by boat with the help of the Aqua Diversʼ Club: ʽStephaniaʼ and ʽIoannaʼ, both of who had recovered from their hook and line ingestions, were released on 29 July.
The same day, ʽTheodoulosʼ and ʽNectariosʼ were returned to the sea offshore from Glyfada with the help of Costas Liberithis, who owns a speedboat-training school. We all wish all the turtles good luck as they resume their life back in the sea. Many thanks to everyone involved in their rescue, treatment, and release.
ʽCostasʼ, the turtle from Evia who had been partially blinded by human hands, has been recovering well since his arrival at the RC in August 2010. He is able to dive and find food on the bottom of his small tank in the Intensive Care Unit. Because he wonʼt be able to survive in the wild, arrangements have been made with an aquarium to care for him for the remainder of his life. He was recently moved into one of the outdoor tanks so that his behaviour in a larger tank could be observed prior to his move. He is diving well, and although itʼs a bit difficult for him to locate food on the bottom of the big tank, he is managing. However, it will still be some time before he can be moved to the aquarium.
Unfortunately, ʽAthinagorasʼ, who had arrived at the RC on 24 July from Salamina, died on 7th August as a result of the severity of his head injuries.
There was one new turtle arrival, named ʽNonoʼ (which means ʽgodfatherʼ in Greek) by the previous harbour master who found him. He arrived by ferry from Hydra on 6th August with a head injury.
Last but not least, RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros received a call from concerned individuals at Loutsa, Attica, reporting that a sea turtle nest had been found there! Pavlo gave the callers information about how to protect the nest. Since sea turtles always go back to the beaches where they themselves had hatched, itʼs exciting to think that about 20 years ago, Loutsa had been a nesting beach! In fact, itʼs possible that many other beaches in Attica – most of which have now been developed for residential or commercial use – were also nesting beaches. At the moment, thatʼs all the information available about this exciting event.
Did you know...
There are 20 turtles currently being treated currently at the RC. This is a much smaller number than in August of last year, when a record number of 38 turtles were being treated. While this may be a positive thing, the number of stranding reports from all over Greece about turtles found dead – many of which tragically died from head injuries deliberately inflicted by human hands – has greatly increased. The only conclusion I can draw is that the turtle killers are becoming more desensitized and efficient, contributing to the rapid disappearance of these endangered animals.
What does the term ʽendangeredʼ actually mean? In brief, species are grouped into six general categories, depending on their population size: Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct. ʽEndangeredʼ means that the population size of a species is/has been declining over time due to a variety of reasons, including habitat destruction, and that the population (in the wild) is likely to become extinct within a small number of generations. To read an article about the criteria used to classify the status of species, see, for example, http://www.eoearth.org/article/IUCN_Red_List_Criteria_for_Endangered. For a simplified chart of the basic criteria, see