Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (November 2016)?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1-30 November 2016.
‘It might as well be spring’ (Rodgers and Hammerstein song title)
Arrivals / Deaths
‘Iphigenia’ arrived from Leros on 3 November 2016 with possible hypothermia, sent by a member of ARION Cetacean Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. She has no visible injuries, and X-rays reveal she has no ingested hooks, lines, or other detectable problems. Although she is not eating by herself yet, she can dive and is getting more active. She will be spending the winter in the Intensive Care Unit at the RC.
Many thanks to Dr Michalis Kontragouris for his valuable help in rescuing this turtle (and others).
(The turtle was named after the ancient Greek princess Iphigenia, the daughter of the great Mycenaean king Agamemnon and his wife Clytemnestra. Iphigenia’s is a long and interesting story, but in short, she was sacrificed by Agamemnon to the goddess Artemis.)
‘Hades’, an adult male loggerhead whose carapace measured 76cm, arrived on 21 November 2016 from Preveza with a horrific head injury deliberately inflicted by a human. Unfortunately, due to the severity of his injury, he was put down on 23 November 2016. (In ancient Greek mythology, Hades was the brother of Zeus and Poseidon. When the brothers drew lots to divide the rule of the universe, Hades ‘won’ the position of Lord of the Underworld and the Dead.)
‘Kiatou’ arrived on 17 November 2016 from the Port of Kiatou with a visible ingested hook. Unfortunately, she died on the same day. A necropsy revealed she had a second hook inside her, each of which was attached to a separate fishing line. These items caused internal injuries, leading to her death.
‘Spyros’, the small loggerhead (6.5 kilos) who had arrived at the RC from Legrena on 9 October 2016, died on 19 November 2016. The turtle had an ingested hook and line which was impossible to surgically remove because of its location within his body.
‘Kotsina’, a loggerhead whose carapace measured 60.5 cm and who weighed 22 kilos, arrived on 27 November 2016 with injuries to her head and carapace. She had been found stranded on the beach at Kotsina on the Aegean Island of Limnos and sent to the RC by the port police. Unfortunately, she died shortly after her arrival due to the severity of her injuries.
We would like to thank everyone involved in helping to rescue these injured turtles.
Fortunately, because of the unusually favorable weather conditions this month, nine rehabilitated turtles were released back into the sea. Photos and more information about these and other turtle releases can be found on the official ARCHELON FB page. You can access the page via this link https://www.facebook.com/archelon.gr/posts/10154479381291328:0 or by a link to the FB page on the ARCHELON website home page www.archelon.gr.
‘Monica’, who had arrived at the RC on 14 June 2016 from Thessaloniki with a head injury, was released on 4 November 2016 by boat into the Saronic Gulf.
‘Akeso’, from Elafonisos (Crete), arrived on 13 August 2015 with carapace and flipper injuries. He was successfully rehabilitated and released on 13 November 2016 into the Saronic Bay.
‘Phoebe’ is an example of how patience is important when treating turtles with head injuries. She had arrived at the RC on 29 October 2012, gradually regained her health and abilities to dive, find food, etc., and was released on 13 November 2016.
‘Mimi’, who had arrived on 13 September 2016 from Skopelos with an ingested hook and flipper injuries, was released on 13 November 2016 into the Saronic Gulf.
‘Polymnia’ had been found by members of the ARCHELON Kyparissia field team during the summer 2016 season. She was treated successfully and released on 14 November 2016.
‘Sofia’ arrived at the RC on 30 June 2015 from Kalamata with carapace injuries. She was successfully treated and released on 14 November 2016 into the Saronic Gulf.
‘Bilbo’ was released on 18 November 2016 from Katafugi beach, Attica. He had arrived at the RC on 31 July 2016 from Kefalonia with injuries to his carapace and plastron, as well as an ingested hook.
‘Alexandra’ arrived on 26 February 2015 from Rodos. Her head injury was successfully treated, and she was released on 24 November 2016 from Katafugi, Attica.
‘Fotis’ was released on 25 November 2016 by boat into the Saronic Gulf. He had arrived at the RC on 24 June 2015 from Katafugi with head and flipper injuries.
‘Giorgos’ is enjoying the good weather outdoors in the big outdoor tank. He has improved greatly, and is managing to dive more frequently. He is able to reach his food at the bottom of the big tank, which is good news. He is not well enough to be released this year, but hopefully next year he will be free again!
Twenty-two turtles will be treated at the Centre over the winter. Out of the 22, 14 have head injuries. Head injuries take a long time to heal, but in some cases patience pays off. For example, ‘Phoebe’ and ‘Eos’ had both been at the Centre for some time, but both recovered their health and were / will be released in 2016 (‘Phoebe’ in November, and ‘Eos’ in December).
Did you know...
The terms ‘overwinter’ and ‘brumation’ refer to how sea turtles survive during the cold winter months. Because sea turtles are members of the reptile family, they are cold-blooded, which means they cannot adjust their body temperature according to weather conditions. So how do sea turtles overwinter (i.e. survive through the winter)? Some migrate to areas with sea temperatures greater than 15oC, and some brumate, which is a special term used to describe a state of relative inactivity in a reptile. In the case of sea turtles, this means that they are able to stay underwater for long periods of time without swimming to the surface to breathe. It is hard to track and study sea turtles thoroughly enough to acquire sufficient and appropriate data to do a scientific analysis of their overwintering behavior.
However, according to an interesting study published online, the “duration and maximum depth were obtained for a total of 1952 dives and dive profiles were available for 229 of these. Median dive durations increased from a minimum of 5.5 min in July to a maximum of 341 min in February. The maximum recorded dive duration was 410 min. Surfacing intervals after such long dives lasted between 5 and 7 min. The increase in dive duration coincided with the decrease in SST and the change of season.” (2005, Hochscheid, S., Bentivegna F. and G.C. Hays, The Royal Society Publishing, Biology Letters, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1629053/).
- OUR NEWS02/02/2024
Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. These vulnerable areas of the planet are a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife species, including sea turtles. ARCHELON is present in wetlands that play an important role for sea turtles, such as the Amvrakikos Gulf.
- OUR NEWS24/01/2024
Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?
ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation projects are organized with the valuable contribution of volunteers who come to Greece every year not just from Europe but from more distant places such as South Korea, Australia, and Colombia. Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities as well as when interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects.
- OUR NEWS17/01/2024
ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada
Turtles with IV and bandages, rehabilitation and recovery tanks, special environmental enrichment equipment, recovery greenhouses, and… renovated train wagons! The hospital for injured and sick turtles that ARCHELON has set up in the 3rd marina of Glyfada, next to the sea, is certainly something out of the ordinary.
- OUR NEWS05/01/2024
What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?
A world record for reproductive life for a sea turtle and 40 years of ARCHELON’s actions for protecting sea turtles are some of the moments we celebrated together this year. So, what happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023? Here are some highlights of the past year.
- OUR NEWS21/12/2023
Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives
“ARCHELON is an opportunity, not only for the animals and the ecosystems, but also for us who participate in it and for the society in which we operate”. Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of ARCHELON, talks about the efforts of the organization and about what he aspires for the future.
- OUR NEWS20/12/2023
Forty years later: the world of ARCHELON has expanded
Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of the Association gives the current coordinates of ARCHELON. "We encounter many turtles in our daily activities, and even more people, many more people actually, who help us. Amongst them are the people who work for us, they stand out for they represent the Association out there, through thick and thin".
- OUR NEWS20/12/2023
19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe
- OUR NEWS15/12/2023
Messages of love from the world turtle community!
Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide
- OUR NEWS14/12/2023
When the past becomes a lighthouse for the future
Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON and one of its founding members talks about the quality and values, and the people who marked the setting up and subsequent action of ARCHELON. “Dimitris Margaritoulis taught us, not only the methodology for monitoring and protecting them, but also what it means to organize tasks, take responsibility, work as a team, evaluate our course and cooperate with each other”, he says.
- OUR NEWS12/12/2023
Notes of a volunteer (Part 2): Ηead trauma happens more often and is more serious than you think
Jessica Van Damme who volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre for 6 weeks in 2023, talks about what she learned while taking care of sea turtles with human caused injuries.
- OUR NEWS04/12/2023
Notes of a volunteer (Part 1): Jessica Van Damme was at the Rescue Centre
“During my 6-week stay, there were more than 30 injured sea turtles being treated at the Rescue Centre. Seven of them were successfully released, but, during the same period there were five new arrivals – all turtles with human-caused injuries. We, humans, are their biggest threat!”, writes Jessica.
- OUR NEWS30/11/2023
Summer 2024: Come back to sea turtle conservation as a leader!
Joining or returning to ARCHELON’s sea turtle projects as a Field Leader will give you the opportunity to lead specific activities as well as train and help others in the projects. These positions provide a higher level of experience in nature conservation/ environment protection, as well as improved communication and leadership skills. Hurry and apply now! Only a limited number of experienced and skilled volunteers are selected to serve as leaders in each project.
- OUR NEWS23/11/2023
The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”
The Alliance's vision in collaboration with the local community is to highlight the unique ecological value and the natural and cultural heritage of Amvrakikos, for the most effective management, restoration, and protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity.
- OUR NEWS16/11/2023
Kids Beach Competition 2023: Turtles made of natural materials that stole our hearts!
The little friends of ARCHELON who participated in the Kids Beach Competition 2023 formed turtles from pebbles, sand, water, rocks, sticks, leaves and shells, spreading the message of protecting sea turtles on the various beaches of Greece. Angeliki's (7 years old) little turtle on top of the big rock stole 694 hearts and became the winner!
- OUR NEWS15/11/2023
The Field Leaders of 2023 and their role
Matthew from the UK, Noha from France, David from the Netherlands, Aris from Greece started one summer as volunteers knowing little about turtles and their protection. Their experience made them return to the conservation projects as Field Leaders to take on more responsibilities, as trainers and mentors for new volunteers.