Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events of the week between 21th December and 29th December 2011.
No new turtles arrived at the Rescue Center this week, but a new full-time volunteer, Aaron (UK), and a couple of “old” volunteers, Flick (UK), and Johannes (Germany), returned to spend their year-end holidays working at the RC.
Due to the extreme winter wind and storm conditions recently plaguing most parts of Greece (including Attika, where the RC is located), it has been difficult to make any releases. One day when the weather was good, “Ioanna” was able to be returned to the sea at Legrena Beach. (see photos)
“Ioanna”, a medium-sized Caretta caretta, had arrived at the RC on 14 August, towards the beginning of the very busy summer season. She had had the misfortune of getting caught on a fishing line, resulting in two large hooks and some line becoming embedded in her throat. To make matters worse, she had been struck on the head, fortunately not too severely. The hooks and line were surgically removed (see photo 13), her head injury was treated, and she received a course of antibiotics and other treatments. Prior to her release, she had been moved from the rehabilitation unit into one of the big, outdoor tanks so that her swimming and diving abilities could be monitored and assessed.
We are still hoping to release “Manolis”, a 61-kilo Caretta caretta who came to the center with a flipper and head injury on 19 July this year (see photo). He had managed to entangle one of his flippers in a fishing net and, in an attempt to pull himself free, ripped off the flipper. Like “Ioanna”, “Manolis” had also been struck on the head. “Manolis” received surgery to remove the remaining portion of his flipper bone, his head injury was treated, he received antibiotics and other treatments, and was recently moved from the rehabilitation unit into a big, outdoor tank so that his swimming and diving abilities could be monitored and assessed. He is doing well and, weather permitting, he will be taken by boat far out to sea and released.
Did you know???
Caretta carettasʼ favorite foods are things they can easily find or catch near rocks or the sea bottom, like sea urchins, jellyfish, octupus, squid, shrimp, molluscs, etc. Unfortunately, they seem to eat anything that comes across their path. Their digestive systems are strong, however, and in many cases the harmful objects pass through their digestive track completely. (Itʼs unknown what damage, if any, these items cause during the process.)
Photo 14 shows actual objects which had been eaten and then eliminated naturally by turtles.
Photo 15 shows two lightsticks (they glow underwater and are attached to fishing lines to attract squid and fish) which had been swallowed and eliminated by one of this yearʼs RC patients, “Theologos”. He had been brought to the RC from Patmos in May, was treated and recovered, and was released several months ago.
So, next time you see any plastic trash in or near the sea, help the Caretta carettas by removing it and disposing of it properly.