Sea turtles are not pets – please do not touch or feed them
Every time we forget that sea turtles belong to the wild, we or another fellow human being may be reminded in an unpleasant way. For example, if someone gets the chance to meet a turtle at sea, they may try to approach it by swimming to touch it, or worse, to throw some human food to it. The reactions of these ancient animals, however, do not resemble those of pets. A turtle at sea can chase you away from its living space. Also, if it has been fed at this spot by humans, it can approach you and bite you.
Are there areas in Greece where people have been observed to feed sea turtles? "Some years ago, in the summers of 2016-2017, we observed tourists feeding sea turtles in Laganas bay, a nature protection area established for sea turtle conservation," replies Nikoletta Sidiropoulou, the ARCHELON Officer for Zakynthos. "Fortunately, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos informed the owners of tourist boats in the area and we informed visitors in our kiosks. Consequently, no such observation has been reported from 2018 onwards," she continues.
It so happens that fishermen may throw non-tradable catches back into the sea when they empty their nets. Any "permanent" sea turtles near harbors may benefit from such an activity. However, increasing information reaches ARCHELON which indicates there are owners of restaurants or bars in various areas who engage in regular feeding of sea turtles at sea, in order to have them admired by their customers.
In March 2020, during a show of the famous chef Akis Petretzikis (Akis' Food Tour), dedicated to Mani, we watched the owner of a tavern in Limeni boasting that he has been feeding the 4 sea turtles of the area on the remains of fish, octopuses & squid, every day for one year at least. The result: 40 cases of bathers bitten by the turtles in the summer of 2019 and 170 cases in the summer months of 2020, confirmed by the Areopolis Health Center nearby.
This year, the Municipality of East Mani requested the assistance of ARCHELON to inform swimmers in the area. «We explained that in the places which a sea turtle associates with food provided by humans, it tends to treat bathers and other turtles as competitors in its feeding area and may chase them away with bites» says Panagiota Theodorou, Coordinator of Legal and Institutional Issues. The dumping of dead organisms and food waste at sea is not allowed, especially when it is a disturbance to a protected species. “Competent authorities for law enforcement in these cases are the Police and the Port Authorities’ she adds.
Knowledge of marine organisms and information can help develop more respect for the planet's nature and ecosystems amongst humans. Humans and turtles "we can all live together" as is the motto of ARCHELON's actions since 1983.
Dimitris Fytilis, Rescue Centre Manager of ARCHELON email: email@example.com, tel.: 6944 929 622.
Galini Samlidou, Peloponnisos Projects Officer of ARCHELON, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: 6951 009 785.
We unite our voices for the protection of the natural environment
This year’s measures against COVID-19 in the ARCHELON projects - May 2021
- 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.