26/01/2011

The Sea Turtle «Damaskinia» is our latest arrival at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre

“Damaskinia”, who was named after one of the children that found her, was spotted a few days ago weak and exhausted, in the port of Lavrio. Luckily, dashing to her rescue were three very committed people. Pavlos Tsaros, the Rehabilitation Officer along with the devoted Ambassador and appreciable supporter of ARCHELON, Duncan Howitt-Marshall, transported her to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of Glyfada, with the help of our friend Rosa Tsakona, who happily offered her car.

While she had no obvious external wounds, her bad condition was given away by the many small barnacles on her carapace and plastron, that is the back and the front of her shell. This was an indication that the turtle was relatively immobile for a few weeks before she was found.

The reason for her immobility was immediately obvious on the x-ray she had at the Medical Centre of Glyfada BIOCARE; she had a hook pierced deeply in the back of her oesophagus.

After a week of antibiotics and drips, Pavlos Tsaros, the Rehabilitation Officer of the Rescue Center with one of the volunteers took the turtle to the surgery room of our specialized VET Lyto Kritseli so that she could remove the hook from the oesophagus of the turtle they named Damaskinia. In addition to the hook, Lyto also found a split inside the right side of the turtle's mouth and a couple of holes in her oesophagus made by the same hook. The split was most likely made when the fishing line of the hook was pulled.

Lyto removed the hook from the back of the turtle's tongue and closed the wound and the split in her mouth with stitches, but the holes in her oesophagus, which are relatively small, are too deep to reach and will have to close on their own.

To ease the wounds' initial healing, we didn't put the turtle straight back into her tank; we let her stay in a controlled-temperature space outside the water. This allowed for the initial closure of the wounds, but also dehydrates the turtle. For this reason we also gave her drips every few hours.

Once in the water, the turtle started swimming. She was nervous due to the change of environment, but she is now already swimming at ease in her tank. We will begin feeding her in a few days, when there will be no risk of her wounds opening. We hope that by May, when we will release her, she will have eaten enough squid and parts of fish to gather strength for her long journeys.

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