Turtles from Western Greece currently treated at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada
The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada utilizes the work of volunteers to help rehabilitate sea turtles that are found injured on the beaches and seas of Greece. Volunteers stay for either six months through the European Voluntary Service, or independently for at least four weeks. They are also supported by volunteers who live in Athens and help us once a week on their spare time.
Most sea turtles are injured by being accidentally caught in fishing nets or on large fishing hooks. A significant number is further injured by deliberate injuries from the fishermen that catch them, and these injuries are mostly on the head. Some fishermen deliver injured sea turtles to the port police, while others put them back in the water to be found later on the nearby coasts. Those who are lucky enough are found while they are still alive and with the help of locals and the port police they are transferred to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada.
Turtles that arrive at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre are given daily treatment to heal their injuries or illness, and are kept in sea-water tanks until they are ready to safely return to the sea. This can take from a few months to several years.
Around fifty turtles arrive at the Rescue Centre every year, and about 60% of them survive and are released back into the sea. Most turtles arrive during the spring and summer; this is the time turtles come to the nesting beaches to reproduce. We receive very few turtles during the winter months, although we still receive many reports of turtles which are found dead.
All injured turtles are given a name by the people who find them or by the volunteers that receive them and attend to their treatment. Some turtles are adopted by people who wish to support our work financially; this is significant help to our difficult and expensive task, since the government and its agencies which are responsible for these animals offer very little financial help.
There are currently 15 turtles at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, with a variety of injuries and durations of stay. The following paragraphs are a short presentation of 7 turtles which arrived from Western Greece, written by the volunteers who treat them.
Artemis by Wilhelm Bodmark.
Andreas by Wilhelm Bodmark.
Marilena by Rebecca Langstrom.
Smapo by Lindsey Death.
Smapo has recently started eating on his own, which is great news. He was being tube fed twice a week until we discovered that although he wouldnʼt touch fish or squid, he did have an appetite for sea urchins. This meant that someone had to regularly venture into the sea to dive for urchins for his dinner. Now he is eating fish we only fetch urchins occasionally for a treat.
Nondas by Lindsey Death.
At 25kg Nondas is still a teenage turtle of unknown sex and has a distinctive colour of brown to his carapace which is much lighter than most of the other turltles. He can also be easily recognized by his flipper flapping on the side of the tank and surface of the water to attract attention.
Pelagia by Molly McCharger.
Dina by Duncan Howitt-Marshall.
Due to the severity of her head injury she is likely to have extensive damage to the nerves and muscle tissue in her head and neck. Her head tilts to the left and her hind flippers are tightly tucked under her carapace; a sure sign of stress and discomfort. Her injury has all the hallmarks of blunt force trauma, most likely a cruel human strike. It will take a great deal of time to heal. Despite this grim prognosis, Dina is a true testament to the robust nature of these extraordinary animals. Loggerhead sea turtles have remained unchanged for approximately 40 million years. Their tough armoured exterior helps to protect them from injury from their natural enemies, but the strength of simple tools like hammers, axes, propellers, fishing gear and even shotguns in combination with human brutality are unfortunately exterminating them in unprecedented rates. We struggle daily so that Dina and the other injured turtles at the Rescue Centre may survive against the odds.
Edited and tranlsated by Nikos Vallianos with input from Wilhelm Bodmark, Rebecca Langstrom, Johannes Kupke, Lindsey Death, Ida Kotjerba, Molly McCharger, Duncan Howitt-Marshall, Pavlos Tsaros, and Nikos Vallianos.
The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada and the Turtles of the Aegean Sea.
EUROPEAN YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING CELEBRATION
- OUR NEWS27/09/2023
World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?
But why is tourism important to sea turtles?
- OUR NEWS15/09/2023
Lilo, the tiny green turtle, made it back to the sea!
In November 2021 a small green turtle arrived at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with a very serious head injury. After almost two years of intensive care, one Wednesday in September 2023 he was finally discharged and returned to the sea!
- OUR NEWS17/08/2023
World record of 37 years of reproductive life for a loggerhead sea turtle in Zakynthos, Greece – increased number of nests this summer, says ARCHELON
ARCHELON – the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece announces an important outcome of the systematic work of this year's sea turtle nest monitoring team in Zakynthos. Based on their long-term observations, ARCHELON managed to certify a new World Record of reproductive activity for loggerhead turtles.
- OUR NEWS07/08/2023
ATTENTION! Sea turtles are not pets: Do not touch them or feed them!
The Municipality of Eastern Mani and the Port Authorities requested the assistance of ARCHELON to inform beach users in the area of Limeni, near Mani, where 35 new incidents of sea turtle attacks on sea bathers have been recorded during this summer season. These are added to the already long list of 200 such records of previous years found in the nearby Health Center in Areopolis.
- OUR NEWS01/08/2023
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre Lea shares her experience volunteering at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre: “I think when a turtle starts to eat after a month of trying, when you can see the improvement or healing of a turtle's injury and when a turtle is released back into the sea, into its natural habitat, into its home - then you know that you are indeed saving turtles”.
- OUR NEWS21/07/2023
Kids Beach Competition 2023: Make your own little sea turtle with natural materials and send us a photo!
Help us spread the message about the protection of sea turtles by making your own baby turtles with natural materials you will find on the beach. Sand, stones, pebbles, shells, seaweed, sticks and whatever else you have available, can be transformed with a little imagination! Take a photo of your work and send it to the ARCHELON Beach Competition.
- OUR NEWS18/07/2023
Paving the way for next steps in conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean region
Last week the partner organizations of the project “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region” met for the 9th Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting was organized by SPA/RAC in the area of Kyparissia Bay, Greece on the 4th and 5th of July, 2023 in collaboration with ARCHELON.
- OUR NEWS04/07/2023
An offer to EXPERIENCED volunteers: You can now join the beach projects for 2-3 weeks!
The time is just right to join the projects again, even if you have only 2 or 3 weeks of available time. This offer is valid for August, September, October 2023. Apply through our new website and find out more about the dates and places you can join. More…
- OUR NEWS22/06/2023
The nesting season has begun! Learn what you can do if you find sea turtle tracks or nests on the beach
The nesting season for the loggerhead sea turtles has begun. The nests that are made in the areas monitored by ARCHELON and other collaborating groups are already being recorded. However, if you find tracks or nests on other beaches, you can also participate in the effort to record and protect these sporadic nests. Find out why it's important…
- OUR NEWS16/06/2023
A breath away from registering a new world record on the years of known active reproduction of a loggerhead sea turtle is ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
This is the year when ARCHELON, a nonprofit environmental NGO, is celebrating 40 years of continuous and targeted action to save sea turtles in Greece and the Mediterranean. At the same time, the project teams of ARCHELON are ready to register the longest period of active reproduction known for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), in case it happens this year!
- OUR NEWS15/06/2023
A Saturday unlike any other - Turtle Festival 2023
ARCHELON invites kids and adults to celebrate the environment and the sea in an exciting way at the "Sea Turtle Festival" on Saturday, May 27 at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in the 3rd Marina of Glyfada.
- OUR NEWS07/06/2023
Announcement for all past volunteers of ARCHELON: Shall we meet this September?
Highlight: Hi everyone! This year marks 40 years of ARCHELON’s action for protecting sea turtles in Greece. During these four decades, thousands of volunteers from many countries joined our sea turtle projects and the Rescue Centre to help save the turtles. Let’s meet again this coming September and celebrate the animals we saved during all these years.
- OUR NEWS07/04/2023
Waiting list for schools that want to visit the ARCHELON Rescue Centre
Thousands of Greek students visit the Centre and get informed about the value of protecting the environment through contact with a particularly beloved animal, the sea turtle. "All the available visiting hours until the end of the 2022-2023 school year have been booked, but there is a waiting list that is activated in case of cancellations", says Anna Kontoleon, ARCHELON’s Education Officer. More hours for online tours may be added in May if volunteers become available.
- OUR NEWS28/03/2023
People are supporting wildlife conservation
The donations and "adoptions" made at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Attica and at ARCHELON’s field projects in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete in 2022, reached the amount of €350,000. We did a lot last year thanks to all these people, who also made it possible for us to continue this year.
- OUR NEWS24/03/2023
We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…