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Rescue Center News

Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?

Happenings

On Thursday, 2 February, we had a new arrival at the Rescue Centre. ʽTriphonasʼ, a small
2-kilo Caretta caretta, came to us from Antiparos with a hook and line ingestion. He was given first aid, and immediately taken to the veterinarian, where the hook was surgically removed. He seems to be doing fine, and after the usual 48-hour observation period, was placed in a new tank. We hope that all continues to go well and he can be the first to be released in spring. To see some photos of Triphonas posted on the internet by Vicky, one of the people involved in his rescue, click on this link. http://optiko.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/1986/.

As far as everything else is concerned, something unexpected but wonderful and inspiring did occur at the Centre on the cloudy, cold Saturday afternoon of 29 January 2012. Lavinia Markopoulou, 12 years old, came to the Centre with her mother specifically to adopt a turtle. Lavinia had visited the RC with her school earlier, and since that time had saved all her pocket money until she had enough to adopt a turtle for a month! She chose ʽThessaliaʼ, who will be this weekʼs featured turtle in our Turtle Update section below. Many thanks to you, Lavinia, and your parents for proving there is still hope that the future will be a better place. Interesting anecdote: ʽThessaliaʼ arrived from Volos, where Laviniaʼs grandfather comes from.

Despite the cold weather, the first grade class of the 4th Primary School of Argyroupolis visited the Centre. They enjoyed the education presentation about the turtles, the dangers they face, and how we can help them, and especially enjoyed watching from the observation deck as volunteers took care of the turtles in the intensive care unit. When asked how they enjoyed their visit, they all replied, ʽIt was perfect!ʼ

We also had the pleasure to have a group of scouts from Nea Smyrni come and visit us. In addition to being given a tour of our facilities, they sat and had a discussion about this endangered species. Before leaving, they voluntarily offered to clean our Rescue Centre very thoroughly. Thanks, guys!

Last piece of good news but not least, at the ARCHELON pita cutting which took place on Monday, 30 January 2012, at the Pataki Bookstore in Athens, I was the lucky winner of the ʽfloriʼ, which according to tradition means I will have good luck all year. Iʼd like to transfer the good luck to all sea turtles, and hope they have a safe year far away from danger. The prize was one of the new ARCHELON sweatshirts, perfect for keeping warm on these cold winter days. The shirts are available in the RC shop and can also be ordered online (http://www.archelon.gr/eng/gifts.php?row=row11).

Turtle Update:

“Thessalia” came to the Rescue Centre from Volos on 26 September 2011. She is a 35-kilo female Caretta caretta, and her carapace is 68.2 cm long. She has a head injury, the cause of which is unknown. She is able to dive, but does not eat on her own and so is tubefed. Although she has been here for quite some time, she is still very stressed. Hopefully, she will relax and begin to eat on her own soon.

You may remember the recent report on “Yiannis”, who recently had surgery to remove a hook from his oesophagus. He is recovering well and is expected to be released later this year. Anyway, he is back in the news again: here is a photo of his X-ray (again), and the hook which was removed.

Did you know...

It has been estimated that out of every 1000 Caretta caretta hatchlings, only one or two survive to adulthood. This high mortality rate is mainly due to natural predators (sea birds, large fish, foxes, and other animals). This does not include threats related to human factors, such as obstacles on the beaches (e.g. sunbeds) which prevent the hatchlings from reaching the sea, bright lights or loud music from hotels or cafés located on or close to the beach which disorient the hatchlings so they canʼt find the sea, vehicles driving across the beaches, etc.

Although the number of sea turtles in the Mediterranean is unknown, one of the reasons Caretta caretta sea turtles are endangered is because each year, their nesting habitat is being damaged or threatened by uncontrolled development for tourist facilities, road construction, etc., meaning fewer nests are laid, meaning fewer hatchlings will reach the sea.

During the day, neither turtles nor hatchlings are present on the beaches, so therefore there is no problem when people use and enjoy the beaches then. In order to protect the turtles, at night – when both nesting and hatching activities take place – the beach should be unobstructed, quiet and dark. This means that sunbeds, etc. should be removed from the beaches every night, bright lights should not be projected either onto the beach or into the sea, and loud noise or music should be avoided.

If you happen to be staying at a hotel or spending time at a café on a nesting beach, you can help by asking the management to take these simple precautions to protect the turtles.

Joanne Stournara

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