Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events between 10th August and 30th August 2012.
I would personally like to congratulate Phillip (EVS volunteer from Finland) and Angelika (volunteer from Germany), on the excellent job they are doing in caring for the turtles and in keeping the RC clean and running well. Also thanks to long-time volunteer Mariyanna for her invaluable help.
Information for visitors
September is approaching. The RC will be open to the public every weekend from the 1st of September, between 11am and 5pm. Please feel free to come and visit. There is no entrance fee, but keep in mind that ARCHELON is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and sponsorships. You may obtain a nice souvenir or adopt a turtle by making a donation, or bring something which is needed to care for the turtles (e.g. fish, squid, gloves, betadine solution – see the complete list here: http://www.archelon.gr/eng/pedio_rescue.php?row=row5).
You can also join our volunteer force and help out at the Centre one day a week.
On 10th August, yet another turtle with a head injury arrived from Amvrakikos Bay. More details about the turtle, named ʽPolyʼ, will be available in the next report. Those who are trying to exterminate all the turtles in the area should be made aware that the turtles which live/forage in the area actually play a key role in keeping the Bay healthy and in increasing the number of fish in the Bay. Because the turtles are bottom-feeders, their foraging in the thick beds of sea grass opens up/cleans areas so that the hatchling fish and other sea creatures which live in the sea grass can survive. In addition to being cruel (and against the law), killing sea turtles affects the Bay environment negatively, which will become more and more obvious in the near future.
Unfortunately, ʽRosaʼ, who had arrived at the RC on 17 June from Messolongi, died as a result of the severity of her head injuries. Although it is not possible to tell the precise age of a sea turtle just by looking at it, ʽRosaʼsʼ marginal scutes had the characteristic pointy shape which indicated she was a young turtle still in the process of growing. The loss of a turtle at this stage of its development is yet another blow to the survival of the species.
ʽPavloʼ, the turtle from Amvrakikos Bay who had had a 15-cm nail driven into his head, is showing signs of improvement! He is unable to dive, but keeps trying and now manages to get his entire head under the water. He also tries to eat, but due to the injuries caused to his jaw muscles, cannot eat on his own and has to be tube-fed. Personally, I think his determination to live despite what had been done to him provides a good example for all of us who are trying to make it through this terrible economic crisis.
ʽCassandraʼ, the turtle who had been rescued by the fisherman Christos near Rethymnos on 2 June, is doing well. Her flipper injury healed successfully and the flipper did not have to be amputated, as was originally feared. She has been moved to one of the large outdoor tanks and if all continues to go well, should be released soon.
ʽTaxiarkisʼ, the small green turtle who had ingested two fish hooks, is recovering well from his surgery. Itʼs a pleasure to see him zipping around and around his tank in the Intensive Care Unit, and we are all looking forward to his move to one of the large outdoor tanks – followed by his release back into the sea – soon.
Within the last several days, four new Caretta caretta turtles arrived. ʽNioniosʼ, a big turtle (71 cm, 46 kilos), arrived on 27 August from Porto Rafti with a hook ingestion. ʽTeniaʼ, a small turtle (20.5 cm, 8.50 kg) with flipper injuries, arrived on 28 August from Paros. ʽXeniaʼ, a large turtle with a severe head injury, also recently arrived, and at the time of this writing, a new turtle was on its way from Lamia. More information will be available about these turtles once all their tests and examinations have been completed.
RC Special Wish-list
ARCHELONʼs first priority at the RC is of course procuring the food, medication and other items needed for the daily care of the turtles being treated at the Centre. Over the years, many visitors to the RC have made it a practice to bring donations of fish and medical supplies with them to help the turtles, and we thank them for their generosity and support. In addition to items like those, which are constantly used and need to be replaced, there are also some other items needed to help the RC run smoothly, but for which funds are usually not available. One such item is the special industrial scale used to weigh the turtles. The current scale had been damaged by its many years of use and exposure to the sea and salt and needed to be replaced. ARCHELON would like to thank Markos Fyrogenis for generously donating a new industrial scale, something which was greatly needed and will help the turtles.
If you would like to help, the RC is starting groundskeeping/gardening work. Some basic equipment like rakes, gardening gloves, and gardening sheers are needed. We also need people to help with the actual work. If you would like to help by either donating one of those items or doing some groundskeeping/gardening, please contact Pavlo Tsaros at the RC (firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-8944444).
Did you know ...
Sea turtlesʼ carapaces (i.e. their upper ʽshellsʼ) are made up of hard plates or sections called scutes. Each species of sea turtle has its own arrangement of scutes, which makes the feature a useful one for identifying what species a turtle belongs to. For a diagram and more information about scutes, take a look at this PDF from seaturtle.org: http://oilspill.fsu.edu/images/pdfs/turtle-id-placard.pdf
I am not a marine biologist or turtle expert, but as I mentioned above in the news about ʽRosaʼ, when you look at sea turtles you can see that the shape of the marginal scutes of smaller (and presumably younger) sea turtles is pointed and each scute is separate, compared to the marginal scutes of larger (and presumably older) turtles, whose marginal scutes have joined together into a circular ʽringʼ at the edge of the turtleʼs carapace. Next time you visit the RC and look at the turtles, keep your eye out for this.