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.

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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.


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"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…

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"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:

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.




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