20/03/2023

More than half of the rehabilitated sea turtles got released back to the sea in 2022!

More than half of the rehabilitated sea turtles got released back to the sea in 2022!

People from many coastal locations in Greece have been reporting incidents of stranded sea turtles to the coast guards and ARCHELON for the last 35 years. The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada was established in 1994 as a response to the growing numbers of stranded animals and up to now has received more than 1100 injured and sick sea turtles.

After their recovery and rehabilitation, sea turtles are released back to the sea, their natural habitat. “A day at the Rescue Centre is never ‘just another day’. On top of the daily care and treatment of the animals, it may include several phone calls to make sure that a suffering sea turtle will safely arrive from any point of the Greek maritime space, either from a big city like Alexandroupolis in the north Aegean, or from a small island off the coast of Crete” says Dimitris Fytilis, the Rescue Centre Manager.

“In January last year there were 30 turtles under care at the Centre and during the course of the year we had 33 arrivals and 32 releases”, says Eirini Kasimati, the Rescue and Rehabilitation Officer. “More than half the number of the sea turtles treated at the Rescue Centre last year got released back to the sea. This is a good result that makes us all here, staff and volunteers, happy”.

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Most of the animals suffer from microplastics, plastic, fishing line, and hook ingestions. The reasons more often than not, sea turtles arrive at the Rescue Centre is injuries caused by deliberate hits on the head while “Even though the cases of such incidents were less than last year, still 13 sea turtles got admitted with inflicted head injuries”, says Eirini.“We hope these incidents will keep decreasing in the future”, she adds.

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Every sea turtle treated at the Centre becomes special and this is also the case of ‘Zoe’, a sea turtle that got admitted to the Rescue Centre in October 2019 with a severe head injury, coming from Monemvasia. After 3 years of consistent care by the staff and volunteers of the Rescue Centre it was possible for ‘Zoe’ to complete the rehabilitation process and return to his natural habitat in November 2022.

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“It’s so rewarding to see the health improvement of an animal under your care and to watch it enter the sea again, especially in case it got admitted in a very critical condition, such as ‘Zoe” says Alex Karaplis, a biologist, ecologist (that has been a dedicated volunteer at the Rescue Centre for three years and will be the Project Manager for South Peloponnese this year.

Watch the video with the releases of sea turtles from the ARCHELON Centre (youtube). Check out how to become a volunteer at the Rescue Centre here.

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