What is it that ARCHELON does, finally?
ARCHELON is a very busy organization throughout the year, but December is especially a time of outreach for volunteers and fund raising. All our efforts contribute to the rescue and conservation of sea turtles in Greece. If you like what we do, join us and support us! But what is it that we do, in a nutshell?
It is an amazing fact that Greece hosts about half of the nests of the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle laid in the Mediterranean every year. Consequently, the most demanding of our activities is the monitoring and protection of sea turtle nesting activity on the beaches in Greece, from May to October every year.
ARCHELON volunteers record and protect about 5000 nests on nesting beaches every summer. We monitor about 140 km of coastline, but through our rescue network we maintain data on occasional sea turtle nesting and sightings from all over Greece. We monitor the movements of turtles at sea with simple tags and satellite tagging and we collect population data on feeding grounds. This information is combined with data from other countries and it is used to assess the conservation status of the loggerhead population in the Mediterranean.
But what about the conservation of nesting habitats and the coastal ecosystems? ARCHELON’s conservation actions are about making sure that there is free space, no lights and noise on the nesting beaches for sea turtles to come out of the sea at night and lay their nests. We take action so that beach users will not destroy the nests with beach umbrellas or rallying with vehicles. We try to make sure that hatchlings will find their way to the sea and will not die lost on roads, gardens, bushes. We campaign so that turtles are not getting killed or injured by propellers of boats.
We talk to people, the authorities, local businesses, tourists, schools about the conservation measures and monitor their implementation on the nesting beaches in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete. We talk to more than 120.000 tourists and people near the beach and more than 200 administrators at different levels every year. We collaborate with tour operators and hotel managers who support our aims and efforts. ARCHELON welcomes initiatives related to nature and sustainable tourism near the nesting beaches.
Aside from the nesting beaches, there is the Rescue network and the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada, near Athens. ARCHELON’s Rescue Centre is a year-round hub of activity. Dedicated staff and volunteers receive and treat more than 70 injured or sick sea turtles rescued throughout Greece annually. The causes of illness include swallowing marine litter, especially plastic debris, fishing lines and hooks. Injuries are due to accidental entanglement in fishing nets, collisions with speed boats or deliberate human actions.
More than half of the rescued animals are successfully rehabilitated and released back to their natural habitat, the sea. We are part of a national network for rescuing wildlife and also maintain collaboration with relevant experts from all over the world.
Treatment and rehabilitation of rescued sea turtles triggers public awareness on a number of environmental issues and we welcome students, groups, families on special educational tours. More than 12,000 schoolchildren are attending our educational programs every year. ARCHELON volunteers are always keen to share their experience with visitors during the open hours of the Rescue Centre.
By now you must be wondering about how we do things. The key word is volunteering. We are nonprofit and non- governmental. By volunteering, more than 75% of our annual income is used directly for rescue and conservation actions. We receive occasional grants from Institutions of public and private character and more than 50% of our annual income comes from private supporters. If you like what we do, be one of them!
Adopt a sea turtle: https://www.archelon.gr/eng/sponsor_aturtle_form.php?mid=8&mid2=22
Become a volunteer: https://www.archelon.gr/eng/volunt.php?mid=2