Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (January-February 2017)?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in January and February 2017.

Day Volunteers: Six day volunteers received a symbolic gift of appreciation from ARCHELON at the annual pita-cutting event: Dionysis Arvanitakis, John Brinkman, Jane Mantarakis, Irene Kasimatis, Phil Miller, and me. (For details, see http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=894)


“For most of the wild things on Earth, the future must depend on the conscience of mankind.”

This quote by the famous sea turtle conservationist Archie Carr (1909-1987) seemed an appropriate way to begin this report, the first of the new year. (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Archie_Carr/)

Usually things are quiet at the RC during the early winter months, with all the injured turtles safely sheltered in their heated tanks within the greenhouse, receiving treatment and preparing to be released in the spring. In fact, usually few if any turtles are admitted for treatment during this time. This may be due to a combination of factors, such as less people out boating or fishing, and the sea turtles are either brumating (= the form of hibernation characteristic of reptiles) or have moved to warmer waters.

For the last several years, due to climate change (an example of the negative effects of “the conscience of mankind”), the weather in Greece has been characterized by relatively mild winters. However, this year was quite different, with periods of mild weather suddenly changing to harsh winter conditions with low or freezing temperatures, then briefly warm again, then suddenly cold. As a result, a number of sea turtles were cold struck, and were either stranded on the sea surface or washed ashore. Emergency measures had to be taken to accommodate these turtles at the RC and to treat them for hypothermia.

Many thanks to the volunteers who had the difficult task of caring for both the turtles already being treated plus the new arrivals. Thanks also to everyone involved in rescuing and transporting the turtles, and to the ARCHELON supporters whose generosity helped the RC manage the unexpected economic demands. All of you are examples of the positive effects of “the conscience of mankind”.



Iraklis” (“Hercules”) arrived on 3 February 2017 from Rhodos. The turtle, whose carapace measures 74 cm and who weighs 46 kilos, was found to have an ingested hook. (Needless to say the turtle was named after the legendary ancient Greek half-god hero Hercules, son of the god Zeus and the mortal Alcmene.)


Polyphytos”, whose carapace measures 78.0 cm and who weighs 58.0 kilos, arrived from Leros on 15 February, suffering from hypothermia. (The turtle is named after the artificial lake Polyphytos in northern Greece, which is known for the famous – and longest in Greece – bridge which traverses it.)

Theodora”, who arrived on 16 February from Rethymno, has a carapace measuring 24.0 cm and weighs only 1.5 kilos. The turtle has no visible injuries, but is very debilitated and covered with barnacles. The turtle was named after the woman who found her, and it means “Gift of God”.


Valentina” arrived on 17 February from Thessaloniki, suffering from hypothermia. The turtle’s carapace measures 73 cm, and she weighs 42.5 kilos.


Marina”, who arrived on 30 January 2017, died shortly after her arrival.

Did you know...

ARCHELON Volunteers in Greece is a group of local volunteers who meet regularly. They do various jobs at the RC, plan and organize RC special events, represent ARCHELON at information tables at various educational and public events, participate in fund-raising and public awareness activities, and have fun at the same time. If you are interested in joining, please contact the ARCHELON Volunteer Officer Hara Papailiou at volunteers@archelon.gr.




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