Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (May 2017)?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events in May 2017.

“Love is the goal, Life is the Journey” (Motto of the European Union LIFE Program)

This month, ARCHELON is celebrating the anniversary of the 25th year of collaboration with the EU LIFE Nature Program. (For more information about this program, see the ARCHELON website or the official EU Life Nature Program website, which features an article about the Stromfylia wetlands program here in Greece (http://www.lifestymfalia.gr/en/News/latest-news/20170614_InternationalConference).

This program is more critical now than ever, with a record number of turtles for this time of the year being treated at the RC, unfortunately most suffering from head injuries deliberately inflicted by human hands. Whether this record number is due to more violence by certain individuals or due to increased public awareness and action by the port police and the general public cannot be determined. Whatever the reason, the result is the same: many, many injured sea turtles requiring treatment.

Thanks to all foreign volunteers for your hard work in caring for the turtles, and thanks also to our Volunteers in Greece for their continued support and contributions to keeping both the turtles healthy and the RC operating properly under sometimes difficult conditions.



Nichta’ (which means ‘Night’ – Νύχτα - in Greek) arrived from Patras on 10 May 2017 with a head injury deliberately inflicted by human hands. The loggerhead’s carapace length is 60 cm, and he weighs 23 kilos.

Akeso II’ ιs a loggerhead found by members of the ARCHELON Rethymno Field Team in the local harbor and sent to the RC for treatment on 16 May 2017. The turtle, whose carapace measures 61.9 cm and who weighs 36 kilos, has injuries which appear to result from predation by a monk seal. (Note that monk seals Monachus monachus are also a protected species.) The turtle is healing and hopefully will recover.

Such attacks are not commonly known in Greece except for a particular area in Zakynthos. For details about the relationship of seals and sea turtles in Zakynthos, see the ARCHELON report at http://www.archelon.gr/files/bibliography/%7B4%7DMargaritoulis11MonkSeal%20Predation.pdf

Adonis’ was found on 20 May 2017 at a nearby beachin Alimou. The turtle had no visible injuries, but his condition was very debilitated.

Maria’ arrived at the RC on 25 May 2017 from Sagiada with a head injury, deliberately inflicted by human hands. She also had an old injury to her left flipper, and her condition was very weak.


Erika’ a loggerhead with a very severe head injury, is improving. I happened to be at the RC several months ago when she arrived, brought to Athens from Naufplion by car by the person who found her. Her head injury was very very severe and things didn’t look good. However, thanks to the excellent care she received at the RC from Pavlos Tsaros and all the volunteers, along with the continued support of the person who had found her, she has managed to hold on. Yesterday, I was happily surprised to see her resting comfortably on the bottom of her small tank in the ICU unit, which means she is able to dive, at least in a shallow area. The will –and ability– of these injured sea turtles to survive, along with the devotion, dedication and determination of the people caring for them - is always inspiring to me.


Alkis’, a male loggerhead found in the port of Katakolo, arrived at the RC on 13 May 2017. The turtle had a head injury deliberately inflicted by human action. Unfortunately, he died shortly after his arrival due to the severity of his injury. The loggerhead’s carapace length was 61.0 cm and he weighed 70 kilos.


Fortunately, a number of turtles who had been treated over the winter recovered their health and were able to be released back into the sea. (Unfortunately, their former tanks were quickly filled by new arrivals!) We wish all the released turtles a long and safe life back in their sea home.


On 13 February 2017, the eve of St. Valentine’s Day, "Valentina" was found in Corfu suffering from severe hypothermia. She was taken to the Exotic & Wild Animal Unit of the veterinary school at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Head of unit Ms. N. Komninou), where the turtle received first aid, and detailed laboratory and clinical examinations were done. Once her condition had stabilized, she was transferred to the ARCHELON Rescue Center, where she recuperated for almost three months. She fully recovered her health and was released on 12 May 2017.

Gaia" was found in Kerkyra with a head injury on 16 September 2016 and sent to the Rescue Center for treatment. She fully recovered and was released into the Saronic Gulf on 30 May 2017 at "Katafygi" beach (57th km Athens-Sounio) together with the Stavrakis School, which has supported ARCHELON by adopting injured turtles! The release was featured on the Alpha channel TV show Happy Day. You can see a video of the release at http://www.alphatv.gr/shows/entertainment/happyday/webtv/thalassies-helones-kareta-kareta-apeleytheronontai-sti-thalassa.

"Evgenia" was found suffering from hypothermia in Leros on 3 November 2016. Veterinarian Dr. Michalis Kontrafouris, a member of the ARION Rescue Network, took care of her and provided first aid before sending her to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre for treatment. She had fully recovered, and in celebration of World Turtle Day, was released on 23 May 2017.

Louna 16” arrived at the Rescue Centre on 15 June 2016 with an ingested hook and line. She was treated and released on 25 May 2017 by boat far out into the Saronic Bay. Many thanks to the Athens Divers Club for providing their boat and collaborating with ARCHELON on this release.

Ageliki” had arrived at the RC on 7 December 2016 from Lefkada with a human-inflicted head injury. She recovered and was released into the Saronic Bay by beach on 2 May 2017. Many thanks to Voula from the Lefkada Animal Welfare Society for her help in saving this turtle.

Other news

As is usual every year in May, ARCHELON held a special event to celebrate World Turtle Day. This year, the weather was unseasonably cold and rainy, and we were concerned that people would not come. BUT, we were very happy to have a large number of visitors at the event (more than 300!), and, as usual, a good time was had by all. The Mayor of Glyfada, Mr. Giorgos Papanikolaou, together with the Chairman of the ARCHELON Board of Directors, Mr Thomas Arapis, participated in the ‘grand opening’ of two new, large, outdoor tanks that were funded by the LIFE EuroTurtles program. (For a separate article about this event, see http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=915

Once again, thanks to all the ARCHELON volunteers and staff who helped make the day a special one.

Special thanks


Special thanks to local volunteers Phil and John for making many many improvements to the facilities at the Rescue Center, as well as helping care for the turtles.

Special thanks to the EU LIFE EuroTurtles Program for funding the purchase of two large, much needed outdoor tanks. It is now possible once again for six turtles to simultaneously have the opportunity to strengthen their muscles and practice swimming, diving and finding food in the larger, deeper outdoor tanks as their progress is monitored before their release.

Special thanks to Notis Cranes for generously donating their services for the transportation and installation of the two new outdoor rehabilitation tanks mentioned above!


Did you know...

The ARCHELON field projects are in full swing, with the first nest of the year being reported on Zakynthos! There are still some spots available for volunteers, so if you are interested, be sure to apply. For more information about both these items, see the ARCHELON website or the official ARCHELON FB page.




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