Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events between 6th October and 26th October 2012.
'Loukas', a large Caretta caretta, arrived on 13th October from Thessaloniki with a head injury. His carapace is 69.5 cm and he weighs 50 kg. He is receiving antibiotics and drips, and at the moment it's too early to make any predictions about how he will do.
'Petros' arrived at the RC on 20th October from Preveza. He is a huge male Caretta caretta weighing 65 kg and whose carapace measures 88.5 cm, while his tail is half a metre long. 'Petros' was rescued by the local Preveza animal welfare organization who collaborates closely with ARCHELON and has helped rescue many other turtles – many thanks to them! Like the other turtles we have had this year from the same area, 'Petros' has a head injury. If that was not bad enough, X-rays revealed that he been shot at some time in the past –you can see the many pieces of shot which are lodged inside his body, fortunately not seeming to cause him any problems.
ʽMyriamʼ, ʽTaxiarchisʼ and ʽTeniaʼ were all released by boat on 9th October, in collaboration with the Aqua Diversʼ Club. ʽMyriamʼ (a green turtle) seemed a bit stressed at first, but then took off. ʽTaxiarchisʼ, a small green turtle, resurfaced briefly and then took off like a rocket. ʽTeniaʼ, the only loggerhead in the group, also quickly disappeared. Our best wishes go with them.
Some more good news: ʽParisʼ, who arrived at the RC last summer with a head injury, has started diving and eating on his own! Itʼs wonderful to see him resting peacefully on the bottom of his tank, since up till now he was unable to dive and constantly splashed around nervously on the surface. ʽPavlosʼ, the turtle from Ambrakikos Bay who had been so cruelly tortured, has started to accept food fed to him by hand. Hopefully, their progress will continue and they will be able to be released in the future.
Finally, ʽVickyʼ, who had been treated and released in the Saronic Gulf in 2011, was recently seen near Cyprus! She was reported to be alive and well. (ʽVickyʼ had come to the RC from Corfu with a head injury in 2011.) This was great news for everyone who had been involved with her care while she was at the RC.
Unfortunately, we had some sad news as well: ʽEmiliaʼ died on 9th October, followed by ʽAlexandraʼ on the 12th. Both died as a result of their head injuries.
If you recall, a sea turtle nest had been reported this summer at Loutsa Beach. The nest, which had been protected by local volunteers, had been built too close to the sea, in a place where the sand was very shallow, meaning that there was a good chance the nest would be flooded. (For those who are not familiar with it, Loutsa is a popular beach in the Athens area. Before the era of private cars, improved public transport and the opening of the new international airport at Spata, the area was the site of vineyards and olive tree orchards -some of which still exist- and was not densely populated. However, over the last 25 years or so, the area – including the beach – has been heavily developed. Umbrellas and sunbeds now cover most of the beach, limiting the space available for turtles to nest.)
At the invitation of local authorities, RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros visited the beach and excavated the nest, which contained 100 eggs, all undeveloped. Local authorities told Pavlo that nests have been found in the area before. There are sea grass beds in the area, and turtles of all sizes have been reported to frequent the area. Despite this, fishermen still set nets very close to the shore.
Many thanks to the people who were concerned about the nest and for all their work to protect it. Itʼs a great example of the positive impact the public can have on an environmental issue.
Finally, on Sunday 21 October, a special seminar for teachers was held at the RC in celebration of the International Day of the Coasts. For details, see the article about it on the website. Many thanks to all the RC volunteers who took on extra duties and worked extra time before, during and after the event to help make it a great success.
Did you know ...
Various projects aiming to map the movement of sea turtles through satellite transmitters attached to their carapaces have been (and still are being) carried out throughout the world. For information about turtles tracked by ARCHELON, first go to this page on the ARCHELON website to get the names of the turtles and see a map of some of the movements: http://www.archelon.gr/eng/pro_life_telemetry.php?row=row4. Then go to this site http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?keyword=Evropi for more details and more maps. (When you get to the page, type each turtleʼs name in the ʽanimal finderʼ box to see the information for each turtle.)