Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events of the two weeks between 9th and 22nd March 2012.
32nd International Sea Turtle Symposium
From the 11th to the 17th March, RC Coordinator Pavlo Tsaros participated to the 32nd International Sea Turtle Symposium that took place in Huatulco, Mexico. The Symposium provided an excellent opportunity for improving our knowledge about marine turtles and creating new contacts to collaborate and share experiences with.
First, the good news...
“Eleftheria”, who had recently started to eat small amounts of fish on her own, has greatly improved in a very short time. She now has a very hearty appetite, dives, and even sleeps on the bottom of her tank! As soon as the weather is warm enough, she will be moved to one of the large, outdoor tanks, where her behavior will be observed and evaluated in order to determine whether she is will enough to be released.
“Leonidas”, who had been tube-fed, is now eating on his own! We are awaiting the results of the blood tests being done in Thessaloniki, which had been arranged for by the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital.
“Christina”, our smallest turtle, is continuing to eat well and seems to be using her flipper more. Itʼs not known whether she was born with a defective flipper or whether it was injured as a hatchling, and whether this was the reason she had remained in the area where she had hatched instead of migrating to warmer waters. At any rate, it was decided that it would be in “Christinaʼs” best interests to be released back into the area where she was found, when the time comes. Residents of the island where she was found (Karpathos) are so enthusiastic about her recovery and rehabilitation that they have offered to sponsor RC Coordinator Pavlo Tsaros to travel to the island with her and to give a half-day presentation about ARCHELON and sea turtle protection.
Now, unfortunately, the bad news...
On 11 February, “Vassilis”, a 40-kilo, 72.4 cm Caretta caretta from Vonitsa, Lefkada arrived at the RC. “Vassilis” didnʼt have any visible injuries, but X-rays showed he had ingested two small hooks: one was deep down in his esophagus, and one had travelled far down his digestive track, where it was in a very dangerous position. Unfortunately, he lost the battle for life on 15 March.
On 14 March, port police from Souda, Crete, arranged for the transport to the RC of a small Caretta caretta (named “Lato”, after the ferry which brought it to Athens) found with a large, swordfish-sized hook in itʼs mouth and protruding through itʼs lower jaw. “Lato” was in a very weak condition at the time she was found. Upon arrival at the RC, the hook was removed and first-aid treatment was administered. (You can see the antiseptics in the photo (blue waterproof ʽbandageʼ and brownish-red Betadine.) Unfortunately, she passed away during the night. Many thanks to the port police for their help and also for their interest in “Latoʼ” condition.
Did you know ...
If a turtle is accidentally caught on a fishing line, cutting the line and leaving the turtle in the sea will lead to its death. Hereʼs what you should do:
If you are fishing and have caught a turtle:
- Do not panic. Remember that the turtle will be frightened; move quietly and calmly, and avoid shouting or making loud noises.
- The turtleʼs only defense is its bite, so keep away from its mouth and it cannot hurt you in any other way.
- If the turtle is tangled up in a net or lines, they should be carefully cut away or removed.
- If the turtle has ingested a hook, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PULL OUT THE HOOK OR LINE, and DO NOT CUT THE LINE AND LEAVE THE TURTLE TO SWIM AWAY WITH THE HOOK EMBEDDED IN HIS THROAT.
- Carefully bring the turtle onto the boat or shore. Remember: keep away from its mouth and you cannot be hurt.
- Turtles should always be picked up the shell, and never by the fins or the head.
- If the turtle is large and requires two people to move it, one person should take hold of the left side of the shell at a place just behind the turtle's neck and at the part of the shell close to the tail, and the second person should do the same on the right side of the turtle.
- Handle the turtle carefully and gently, being careful that their fins do not fold, bend or twist backwards or underneath the body.
- Cover the turtleʼs eyes with a lightweight damp cloth or gauze to protect them; this will also help keep the turtle calm.
- Check all the flippers for possible identification tags and make a note of the numbers/other information to send to ARCHELON.
- Notify the port police or local authorities immediately to get help and further instructions.
- Call the ARCHELON National Rescue Network at 210-8944444. ARCHELON will send you a “Turtle Incident Report” form which should be carefully filled out and returned to us. This information will not only help this particular turtle, but all the other turtles as well.
Have a nice week!