Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events of the week between 13th and 19th February 2012.
This week was unexpectedly busy for everyone at the Rescue Centre.
ARCHELON Ambassadors Programme, “Nephele”:
Upon returning home to the UK after a summer of volunteering at ARCHELON, Hayley wrote an article for a local magazine about ARCHELON and the Rescue Centre. If youʼd like to read Haleyʼs article, go to http://www.villagevoices.org.uk/VVArchive/February%202012%202.pdf . The article appears on pages 4 and 5 of the current (February 2012) issue of the Village Voices magazine. Thanks!, Bravo!-and best regards from all of us here, Hayley!
If you are a former ARCHELON volunteer and would like to learn more about or participate in the Nephele program, click here. http://www.archelon.gr/eng/Ambassadors.php?row=row9
Perhaps because of the recent period of very cold and windy weather our part of the Mediterranean has been experiencing, four new turtles arrived at the RC this week.
On 11 February, “Stella”, arrived by bus from Thessaloniki. A small turtle weighing 4.8 kg and measuring 31 cm in length, was found by Stelios, a member of EKPAZ (Hellenic Wildlife Hospital). Because of the transit strike in effect at that time, “Stella” was kept by them and given first aid by the group until she could be transported to the ARCHELON RC by bus. She has no visible injuries, and appears to exhibit symptoms of hypothermia. She will be examined by our veterinarian and prescribed a course of treatment. Many thanks to Stelios and the other members of EKPAZ who helped in “Stellaʼs” rescue. (Note: In the summer, Stelios had also found and transported another injured sea turtle, “Rhea”, to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre.)
On 13 February, “Savvas”, a 5-kilo Caretta caretta, was found on Kokkari Beach at Samos by local residents and reported to the NGO Archipelagos. The Archipelagos team determined that “Savas” had ingested a hook which needed to be surgically removed, and provided first aid until he could be transported to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre in Glyfada. Because of the transit strike in effect at that time, it was necessary to transport him by air. Many thanks to the Archipelagos team and the staff at Olympic Air who helped expedite “Savvasʼ” safe and timely transport from Samos to Athens. Upon arrival, “Savas” was X-rayed, which revealed he had ingested two large hooks. He will receive surgery to remove these hooks as soon as possible.
On 14 February, “Christina”, a tiny baby Caretta caretta named after the person who found her and brought her to Athens from Karpathos via Olympic Air, arrived at the RC. “Christina”, who weighs only 120 grams and is only 14 cm long, was found on Diafanio beach at Karpathos during a recent winter storm (NW winds of 5 knots per hour, cold temperatures, etc.). She had been brought to the local authorities (Φορέας Διαχείρισης Κάρπαθου-Σαρίας), who notified ARCHELON and helped arrange her transport to Athens. She has an injured right front flipper and is also showing signs of hypothermia. It is estimated that she may have been a 2011 hatchling who had remained in the area. She will be examined by our veterinarian and an appropriate course of treatment will be prescribed.
Many thanks to everyone on Karpathos involved in her rescue, and also to Olympic Air for helping with her safe transport to Athens.
On 11 February, “Vassilis”, a 40-kilo, 72.4 cm Caretta caretta from Vonitsa, Lefkada, arrived at the RC. He had been transported by bus from Lefkada. Vassilis doesnʼt have any visible injuries, but is showing symptoms of hypothermia. He will be examined by our veterinarian and X-rayed and, once his problem is determined, a full course of treatment will be prescribed.
“Trifonas”, who recently had surgery to remove a hook from his esophagus, is doing well. He still isnʼt eating on his own but is starting to dive, which is the first step on his road to full recovery – and release back into the sea in the summer!
Did you know...
Sea turtles play an active (although often unnoticed and unappreciated) role in protecting two key ecosystems, both of which are utilized by humans: the beach/dune ecosystem and the marine ecosystem, according to information in an article called “Why care about sea turtles?” on the Sea Turtle Conservancy site (http://www.conserveturtles.org/seaturtleinformation.php?page=whycareaboutseaturtles).
Briefly summarizing the article, sea turtles (especially green turtles) help keep the sea-grass-bed ecosystem thriving. Many species of fish and shellfish use this part of the sea as a breeding ground or place where their young can develop in safety. By eating sea grasses, turtles keep this ecosystem clean, fresh, and in optimum condition for the other species which depend on the area, i.e. it contributes to increased numbers of fish in the sea, many of which are sought after by humans.
As far as the beach/dune ecosystem is concerned, organic nutrients from the remains of sea turtle eggs and nests act as natural fertilizers to promote the development of beach grasses, which protects beaches from erosion, something which also benefits humans.
See you next week!