Lilo, the tiny green turtle, made it back to the sea!
In November 2021 a small green turtle (Chelonia mydas) from Chalkida arrived at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with a very serious head injury.
ARCHELON’s rehabilitation team greeted the turtle with great concern. “Every animal that comes into the Rescue Centre has a place in our hearts. But some are very special cases, like this little green turtle", remembers Michalis Moraitis, ARCHELON’s Rehabilitation Assistant, and explains: "What made him stand out is not the extent of the wound on his head, because for us, severe head injuries are unfortunately part of everyday life. What made its rehabilitation very demanding was his tiny size and his species."
Sea turtle head injuries make up the majority of incidents the Rescue Centre is called to deal with today and are usually inflicted upon the unfortunate animals either by purposeful attacks or by collisions with speedboats. Head injuries are particularly dangerous for turtles and can cause plenty of neurological problems. Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are even more sensitive to these injuries than loggerheads (Caretta caretta).
The green turtle from Chalkida was named "Lilo" and the rehabilitation team got to work to save her. “We had to devise methods and tools to be able to intervene on the tiny scars left by his recovery. For example, we have used interdental cleaning brushes with great success, as well as special hypermagnification glasses!”, Michalis explains.
"The next big difficulty we faced had to do with his inability to open his mouth enough to feed himself without help", continues Eirini Kasimati, ARCHELON’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Officer. "After many months of physiotherapy we managed to overcome this problem too", Eirini says. In August of 2023, Lilo was already in the last stage of his rehabilitation! At this stage, the turtles are transferred to a larger tank, where they are prepared and tested for their upcoming release back into the sea.
Thus, in September of 2023, the moment of Lilo's release arrived. He was transported to a quiet beach in Attica, where the ARCHELON team said goodbye to him. Lilo, with quick splashes, had finally returned back to his home, the sea…
"A huge thank you from us, the rehabilitation team, to dozens of volunteers who stood by Lilo's side as well as ours, during all these difficult months until his release", Michalis says with gratitude. "We would also like to thank The Green Fund for consistently supporting our work here", Eirini adds.
Today, the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Center hosts over 30 sea turtles that are being treated and recovering from their injuries:
- Visit the Rescue Centre in Glyfada and meet the turtles up close
- Adopt an injured turtle and cover the cost of its treatment
- Volunteer at the Rescue Centre
The above actions were carried out in the framework of the Project "Rescue, care and rehabilitation of sea turtles into their natural environment in 2023". Project Financed by The Green Fund. In Priority Axis 2 "BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND INNOVATIVE ACTIONS - SMART CITIES AND OTHER ACTIONS" of "NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND INNOVATIVE ACTIONS 2023". Budget: €45,000.00. Beneficiary: ARCHELON, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.
World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?
World record of 37 years of reproductive life for a loggerhead sea turtle in Zakynthos, Greece – increased number of nests this summer, says ARCHELON
- 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.