Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre (September 2016)?

Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1-30 September 2016.

Turtles, turtles everywhere!

Usually August is the busiest month of the year at the RC, but this year September has been very busy. At the moment, 41 turtles are currently being treated at the RC, many housed in temporary tanks outdoors until a tank becomes available in the intensive care (‘greenhouse’) building. Fortunately, a number of rehabilitated turtles are scheduled to be released in the near future, which will open up room for the new arrivals. And, I’m sad to say that some of new arrivals have such severe head injuries (deliberately inflected by human hands) that they are in extremely critical condition.

Turtle News


On 1 September 2016, the loggerhead ‘Elpida’ (which means ‘Hope’ in English) arrived from Chania, Crete with two front flipper injuries, probably caused by entanglement with fishing line. The turtle was rescued by the ARCHELON field team working in Chania. Her carapace measures 62.0 cm. and she weighs 27.5 kilos. Her wounds are being treated, and she is recovering well.


Athina-Ioli’ arrived on 5 September 2016 from Corinth. The loggerhead, whose carapace measures 77.0 cm and who weighs 68 kg, was found by very motivated citizens rescued and transported the turtle to the RC in Athens with their own car! The turtle, who had been spotted floating around the harbor for several days prior to her rescue. She has a head injury, and is infested with leeches. She is being treated with antibiotics, fluid therapy and, since she is too weak to eat by herself, being tubefed.

Eva’, a Caretta caretta weighing 35.5 kg and with a carapace length of 66.5 cm, arrived at the RC on 8 September 2016. She was rescued by a member of the ARION veterinary research and rescue network, and received first aid from the Wildlife Department of the Veterinary University of Thessaloniki. The turtle had severe head injuries intentionally inflicted by human hands, and carapace injuries. Her condition remains very critical.

Althea’, a loggerhead weighing 23.0 kg and with a carapace length of 59.5 cm, arrived from Corfu with a human-inflicted, severe injury to all parts of her head. Her condition remains very critical.

Mimi’, a loggerhead who arrived on 13 September 2016 from Skopelos with an ingested hook and a flipper injury. The turtle’s carapace length is 34 cm, and she weighs 4.5 kg. Fortunately, she eliminated the hook naturally and is being treated for the flipper injury.

Gaia’, a loggerhead, arrived on 16 September from Corfu with a severe head injury to the top and left side of her head close to her eye. The injury appears to have been intentionally inflicted by human hands. The turtle’s carapace weighs 32 kilos and her carapace measures 70.0 cm. It’s too early to say more about her condition.

Sue’ arrived on 18 September 2016 from Spetses. She was found floating off the coast of the island by a former ARCHELON volunteer Sue (after whom she was named), rescued, and transported to Athens, where she was brought to the RC by the ARCHELON Rescue Team. Although ‘Sue’ has a missing back flipper and an old carapace injury, neither of are the cause of her problem: after a thorough examination and X-rays, it was found that she has a lung infection, which prevented her from diving. The turtle is receiving treatment, but it’s too early to predict the outcome. Special thanks to Sue for her continued support of ARCHELON.


Eos’, a loggerhead measuring 69.0 cm and weighing 42 kilos, arrived at the RC on 22 September from Nafpaktos with an ingested hook and line. The hook is too deep to be removed surgically, and hopefully the turtle will be able to eliminate it naturally.

Lyda’, a juvenile loggerhead weighing just 3.5 kg, , arrived at the RC on 29 September from Naxos. with an ingested fishing line coming out of both her mouth and cloaca, and several injuries to her head and neck, possibly due to entanglement with the line. She was rescued by Yiannis of the Naxos Wildlife Protection Society (for more pictures, visit their website https://www.zoosos.gr/naksos-brikan-tin-traumatismeni-thalassia-xelona-na-exei-katapiei-petonia/#axzz4M18SzpLe) . Luckily, no hook was found in the X-rays, and the line was gently removed by Pavlo. However, it is not yet known whether the turtle has any internal damage caused by the ingested line.


Turtle Health Updates

Costas’ was operated on and two hooks were successfully removed on 1 September. The smaller hook also had line attached to it, and he is expelling that at the moment. Unfortunately, he is not doing well, possibly due to internal damage caused by the ingested line.


Unfortunately, there were two turtle deaths at the RC in September.

Salva’, a loggerhead who had arrived on 20 August 2016 from Kea with an ingested fishing line protruding from her cloaca, died on 15 September, due to internal damage caused by the line.

Angie’, a loggerhead who arrived on 16 September 2016 from Paxoi with an extremely severe head injury intentionally caused by a human, had to be put down on the same day.


Hermione’, who had arrived on 16 June 2016 from Kyparissia, was released on 9 September 2016 by beach into the Saronic Bay. For more information and photos, see https://www.facebook.com/archelon.gr/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Olivia’, found in Karpathos on 9 June 2016 with an old head injury, was released from the beach of the Cape Sounio Grecohotel Exclusive Resort on 9 September 2016. For more info and photos, see the official ARCHELON Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/archelon.gr/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Hannah’, who had arrived on 27 June 2016 from Zakynthos, was released on 11 September 2016 from Zakynthos. The sponsor of the event was the Louis Zante Beach Hotel, part of the Louis Hotel Group Hotels, who also covered the cost of the treatment of the sea turtle in the Rescue Center of ARCHELON in Glyfada for two months. Aegean Air generously transported the turtle from Athens to Zakynthos. Thanks also to the staff at the National Marine Park of Zakynthos for their help in rescuing the turtle. (For more information, see the ARCHELON website http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ourdeltia.php?row=row10&nid=865)

Iaso’, a green turtle who had arrived from Preveza on 18 January 2016 with a slight head injury, was released on 22 Sept 2016 offshore. Many thanks to the Aqua Divers Club for providing their boat to transport the turtle to a safe release area.

Angelos’, a loggerhead who was found in the Marina SEF with his rear flipper entangled with a sunbed, was rescued by the SEF Sailing Club. He arrived at the RC on 2 July 2016, treated for the flipper injury and released 22 September 2016 offshore. Many thanks to the Aqua Divers Club for providing their boat to transport the turtle to a safe release area.

Vassilia’, a loggerhead who had arrived from Lefkada on 15 July 2016 with shell impaction (which means her stomach was so stuffed with shellfish she had eaten that they could not be digested) was treated and released 26 September 2016 from Rethymno, Crete. Many thanks to the Aquila Hotel & Resorts and the City of Rethymno for their collaboration in arranging this release. For more information, see ARCHELON’s official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/archelon.gr/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE or the ARCHELON website http://www.archelon.gr/contents/ourdeltia.php?row=row10&nid=867 (Greek only).


Once again, we would like to thank everyone involved in helping these turtles:

Did you know...

There are some stories behind the Greek names of some of our new turtles.

Gaia’ was one of the earliest gods worshipped by the ancient Greeks. In modern terms, we would call her ‘Mother Earth’.

Eos’ was the goddess of the Dawn, who rose every morning from her ocean bed. Her brother was Helios (god of the Sun) and her sister was Selene (goddess of the Moon).

The first woman created by the gods Hephaesteus and Athena (under orders from Zeus) was Pandora, which means ‘all gifted’ because she had received a special gift from each of the gods. One day, she found and opened a box (or jar), which let all the evils (diseases, wars, etc) into the world. Fortunately, she managed to close the box while ‘Elpida’ (‘Hope’) was the only thing left in the box. When our turtle arrived from Crete, it hadn’t been named yet, so the RC volunteers decided to name it ‘Hope’. A short time later, without knowing the turtle had been named in Athens, the Chania team called and said that they had decided to name the turtle ‘Elpida’! Quite a coincidence, don’t you think?




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