“Rafael” from Zakynthos was released
“Rafael” is a juvenile sea turtle found in early April within the small port of Agios Sostis in the bay of Laganas, Zakynthos, trapped in fishing longline. Workers spotted the turtle and reported it to the coast guard and the wardens of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, who quickly arrived on the spot. After capturing the turtle they removed the longline, but the turtle had already swallowed a length of longline which had entered from her mouth, already passed through her body, and exited from the other end, the cloaka.
Through the Stranding Network that ARCHELON operates in collaboration with the Hellenic Coast Guard, Rafael was transfered to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada, where first aid and specialized diet were provided to help him reject the longline naturally and recover. Xrays revealed that there were no hooks in his body, but a surgical operation by ARCHELONʼs specialized vet Lito Kritseli was required on two locations to remove the longline from his digestive tract. After the necessary time for his recovery from the operation, Rafael was released back into his natural environment, the sea, on the 21st of September.
“Rafael” is the only live injured sea turtle found this year in Zakynthos. It is worth mentioning that in 2010 a reduction in sea turtle deaths related to marine human activity, like fishing and the use of speedboats, has been observed in the area of Zakynthos. However, more than a hundred turtles from other coastal areas of Greece have arrived at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in the last 12 months.
Smaro Touliatou & Nikos Vallianos