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Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Center (May and June 2018)?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Center Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in May and June 2018.

To see a man’s true power, let him run free with nature. To see a man’s true nature, let him run free with power.” Unknown

This month the nesting season is at its peak, keeping ARCHELON field project teams very busy. With the summer weather attracting more people to the beaches and sea, combined with more sea turtles near the beaches, unfortunately there are more turtles injured during this period. HOWEVER, it is also the start of the Season of Reintroduction, i.e., reintroducing sea turtles who have recovered their health back into the sea.


Volunteer news

Welcome to all the newcomers, and many thanks and good wishes to those who are leaving.


May: Sophia (Germany), Toni (England), Hugo (France);

June: Reve (USA), Dayna (UK), Tyler (UK), Tara (UK), Hannah (UK), Lea (Belgium)


May: Camille (France), Cam (USA), Miriam (Sweden), Tanya (Scotland)

June: Jarne (Belgium), Florijn (Belgium), Toni (UK), Lisa (France), Lea (Belgium), Sophia (Germany)

Many thanks also to the local and/or part-time volunteers for helping care for the turtles and for maintaining the facilities at the RC. Their dedication and hard work is visible to everyone visiting the Rescue Center: The sanding and painting of the wagons, the building of the new deck, caring for the front garden, and many other improvements have all been made by dedicated part-time volunteers.


Turtle news


Three injured turtles arrived for treatment at the Rescue Center in May, and six turtles were admitted in June 2018.

Zorica”, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 39 cm and weighs 8.0 kilos, arrived on 15 May 2018. The turtle was found in Glyfada, with a fishing line protruding from both her mouth and cloaca.

Fishing line can cause more internal injuries to a turtle than a fishing hook can. The turtle is active, but it is too early to say more about her condition.

Koen” arrived at the RC from Argostoli, Kefalonia on 23 May 2018 with an ingested hook in his oesophagus. The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 81.5 cm and who weighs 68 kilos. The turtle is very active, which is a good sign. He is scheduled to have surgery to remove the hook shortly.

Olympia”, was found floating on the surface in Kyparissa by the ARCHELON Field Team working in the area. They rescued the turtle and sent her to the RC for treatment on 27 May 2018. The turtle, whose carapace measures 66.0 cm and who weighs 34.0 kilos, has a small, old head injury above her eye. She will be X-rayed and carefully examined by our vet to determine exactly what the cause of her condition is.

Fotini”, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 55 cm and weighs 11.0 kilos, arrived on 11 June 2018. The turtle was found in Rethymno by the ARCHELON field team working in the area. She was very weak and inactive when found, and has injuries to her head deliberately inflicted by human action. She also has an injury to her left front flipper, indicating entanglement with fishing line. She is receiving treatment for her injuries and has recently started to be tubefed. It is too early to make any predictions about her recovery.

Poseidonas” arrived at the RC Ierissos (Chalkidiki), where he was found floating on the surface in shallow water near Gaurialia Beach on 10 June 2018. Although the turtle had no visible injuries, it had difficulty breathing and swimming. Needless to say, it was very weak, and its carapace was covered with barnacles and sea moss. The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 64.8 cm and who weighs 29.0 kilos, was rescued and sent to the RC by the local port police. Upon arrival, the turtle was found not to have any ingested hooks, but its plastron was very soft, which is usually not a good sign. The turtle is receiving medication and is being tubefed.

Polykasti”, came to the Rescue Center from Gialova (Pylos) on 16 June 2018, suffering from a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. The turtle, whose carapace measures 70.2 cm and who weighs 53.0 kilos, is very difficult to treat because she strongly reacts (“jumps”) when the wounds are touched. She has no ingested hooks. It is too early to tell what her outcome will be.

Artemis” arrived at the RC from Ancient Mesimvrias (Alexandroupolis) on 16 June 2018. The turtle had been found on 9 June by a member of WWF Greece, who reported it to the local port police. According to protocol, the head of the Exotic & Wild Animal Unit of the Veterinary School at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Dr. Komninou, was notified, and she arranged for the turtle to receive first aid treatment from Dr. Grammenidou, a local member of the panhellenic group Arion Cretecean Rescue and Rehabilitation Research Center, who has helped rescue and treat injured sea turtles many times in the past. Many thanks to Dr. Komninou and her staff, to Dr. Grammenidou and Arion, and everyone else involved in rescuing this turtle.

Medusa”, a loggerhead whose carapace length is 66.4 cm and who weighs 43.5 kilos, was found on the beach at Balou (Kissamou, Crete). The port police notified the ARCHELON field team working in the area, who arranged for the turtle to be sent to the RC, where she arrived on 26 June 2018. A fishing line was visible in the turtle’s mouth, and X-rays revealed an ingested hook. The turtle had an old carapace injury on her left side, but unfortunately has a very soft plastron, which is not a good sign. She is presently receiving medication.

Amfithea” was found and rescued on 28 June 2018 by members of the Nautical Club of Athens in nearby Paleo Faliron. They transported the turtle to the beach, and notified ARCHELON. At that time, the volunteers were all involved outside the RC with turtle releases, so the only person at that moment at the RC, Dimitris Fytilis the Rescue Center Officer, immediately rushed to pick up the turtle and bring it back to the RC. The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 59.6 cm and who weighs 25.5 kilos, has a severe head injury most likely caused by a propeller. Dimitris was able to stop the haemorrhaging and kept watch over the turtle until the Rescue Network Officer and volunteers returned. “Amfithea” is currently receiving medication, and her wounds are being treated and monitored. Many thanks to the members of the Nautical Club of Athens for rescuing this turtle.

Wallace”, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 74.0 cm and who weighs 44.5 kilos, was rescued by members of the ARCHELON Rethymno field team in cooperation with the port police. The turtle was found in the area of Falasarnon (Kissamou, Crete) with severe head injuries, and injuries to both front flippers and the sides of his plastron. X-rays show he has no ingested hooks. At the moment he is being treated for his injuries.


We are very happy to report that there were no turtle deaths at the RC in either May or June 2018!


Nefeli” arrived at the RC on 22 October 2017 from Evia with a hook in her oesophagus. The hook was successfully removed by surgery, the turtle completely regained her health and strength, and was reintroduced into the sea on 31 May 2018 at Kakia Thalassa, Keratea. One of the schools whose young students had “adopted” turtles during the winter was able to attend the first release of this year. It was a happy time for everyone present!

Philippos-Alexandros” arrived at 3 March 2018 from Koropi, where he had been found by a woman and her two young sons (after whom the turtle was named). X-rays revealed that the turtle had ingested a piece of long line with four hooks attached, but fortunately all had passed through the turtle’s body and were very close to its cloaca. She was given special pharmaceutical oil and was able to pass all the items naturally. Once he was free of them, he immediately started eating on his own, regained his health, and was reintroduced into the sea from Kakia Thalassa beach on 31 May 2018. The woman who had rescued the turtle was present and, needless to say, was very happy to see the turtle return to his home in the sea.

Hermione”, a young loggerhead, had been found at the National Marine Park in Zakynthos by members of the Park’s staff in early 2018 and sent to the RC for treatment. The turtle had two ingested hooks which were successfully removed and, after receiving treatment and recovering her health, was re-introduced into the waters of the Gulf of Laganas, Zakynthos on 4 June 2018. We would like to thank the following for sponsoring the treatment of “Hermione” while she was at the Rescue Center: Avalon Hotel, Nefis Travel, Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort and Spa, and Castelli Hotel (all in Zakynthos). We would like to greatly thank Aegean Airlines for their continued support of ARCHELON by sponsoring “Hermione’s” return to Zakynthos, and thanks are also due to the Crystal Beach hotel (Zakynthos) for their collaboration in organizing “Hermione’s” reintroduction to the sea at Kalamakiou Beach. For more information, see the article here http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=987 .

Zena”, who had arrived at the RC from Kalymnos on 22 December 2017 with an injured flipper, was successfully treated and reintroduced into the sea on 15 June 2018. Many thanks to Alexandra Papagiannokou and the Sailing Club of Porto Rafti for providing their boat for the turtle’s release.

Nemo”, who was the tiniest turtle treated at the RC this year, was reintroduced into the sea on 15 June 2018. The turtle had been found in Leros on the beach on 7 March 2018, exhausted and apparently washed ashore by the heavy winds and winter storms occurring at that time, and spent the winter rebuilding his strength in the RC intensive care unit. Many thanks to Alexandra Papagiannokou and the Sailing Club of Porto Rafti for providing their boat for the turtle’s release.

Kreon”, who was a victim of the unusual, extreme winter weather conditions, was found in Kythnos on 17 February 2018. The loggerhead was treated for hypothermia and, after spending the winter regaining his strength in the RC intensive care unit, was released on 15 June 2018. Many thanks to Alexandra Papagiannokou and the Sailing Club of Porto Rafti for providing their boat for the turtle’s release.



Erika”, the loggerhead from Naufplion being treated since last year for a terrible head injury caused by deliberate human action, is now diving and sleeping on the bottom of her tank! She is still very stressed, and was recently moved into one of the big outdoor tanks, further away from the public areas. She has started eating by herself and that, together with the fact that she can dive and sleeps at the bottom of the tank, are all positive signs. She is often referred to as one of the ‘miracle turtles’ who had such terrible injuries when they arrived that it did not seem possible that they would survive. But once again, after receiving patient and proper care, a loggerhead has proved that they are made of strong stuff!

Maria”, the turtle whose jaw was horribly smashed by deliberate human action, is hanging on. She’s not interested in food, not diving, and not active. However, given the severity of her trauma, that is to be expected. Her wounds are constantly being cleaned and, once they have healed, we will be able to tell whether or not she will be able to open and close her mouth, something she is unable to do at this time.


Other news

The container which will serve as a fully-equipped Surgery for treating the turtles has arrived, and is in the process of being set up. This is great news for the Rescue Center, and was a long-time dream of the late RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros. Many thanks to everyone involved in making the Surgery a reality.

On 3 June 2018, ARCHELON celebrated World Turtle Day with a special event at the Rescue Center, as we do every year. As usual, the event was well attended, and “a good time was had by all”.

The RC has been in the news recently: several TV stations have recently interviewed Dimitris Fytilis (RC Project Officer) and Eirini Kasimati (Rescue Network and Rehabilitation Coordinator). They are not all from the month of May, but are worth watching.

https://www.antenna.gr/watch/1177733/to-proino-19-03-2018 (start at 1:43:56)

http://webtv.ert.gr/ert1/pame-allios/26mai2018-pame-allios/ (start at 1:30.00)


http://www.skai.gr/mobile/tv/video?MMID=305926 (start at 37.50)



We would like to thank everyone involved in rescuing and adopting the injured turtles:

  • The many groups and companies involved in rescuing and releasing “Hermione” (see above)

    • The National Marine Park of Zakynthos

    • Avalon Hotel, Zakynthos

    • Nefis Travel, Zakynthos

    • Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort and Spa, Zakynthos

    • Castelli Hotel, Zakynthos

    • Crystal Beach Hotel, Zakynthos

    • Aegean Airlines

  • The Nautical Club of Athens for rescuing “Amfithea

  • Alexandra Papagiannokou and the Sailing Club of Porto Rafti for providing their boat for the releases of “Zeno”, “Nemo”, and “Kreon”.

  • In May 2018, the H & M company generously “adopted” a tank at the Rescue Center for six months. This means that the company will cover all the costs of treatment for an injured sea turtle for that period of time. We would like to thank them for their generous support and concern for the environment.

  • We would also like to thank the Mana Kai company in New Zealand (www.manakai.co.nz) for their generous donation of Manuka Ointment, a special substance they have created using honey and therapeutic plants for treating animal wounds. A former RC volunteer from New Zealand had told the company about ARCHELON’s use of honey to treat certain types of wounds on injured sea turtles, and they generously sent a gift of ointment to help.


Did you know...

After many years of warnings and public awareness campaigns by various environmental groups, countries across the globe have finally realized the need to REDUCE plastic waste, since as a general rule only a small percentage of plastic waste is actually recycled. There are many easy ways we can reduce our use of plastic – if you’re looking for ideas, just search the internet. For example, the article at http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html lists 17 simple and painless lifestyle changes which will help save the planet.


Joanne Stournara



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