On the beach with the Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy, for a taste of freedom
Two loggerhead sea turtles were release back to the sea from a beach of Attica on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, after having completed their treatment at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada, near Athens. A special guest in the moving moments of this double release was the Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Mr. George Amyras, who helped transport the turtles to the sea together with the experienced team of the Rescue Centre. Also present, were the President of ARCHELON Mr. Thomas Arapis, as well as staff members, volunteers and members of the Board of the organization, which is a nonprofit environmental NGO dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats since 1983.
According to Eirini Kasimati, the Rescue and Rehabilitation Officer, the first turtle, named “Taygete”, was found on the beach of Mavrovouni in Gythio, in July 2020. The injury on its shell was quite serious, which is why it remained under treatment for almost 12 months. “Taygete” had stayed in the big rehabilitation tank at the Rescue Centre several times during the last month, until she was able to dive properly and feed herself.
As soon as she entered the sea, this big turtle dived gracefully and disappeared calmly into the blue sea.
“Electra” is the second turtle that returned to the sea yesterday. She was found on the beach of Alexandroupolis in June 2020. Her head injury was very serious, but with the care of the staff and the volunteers she managed to recover. Even though she had remained at the Rescue Centre for 13 months, “Electra” returned to the sea comfortably, although a little nervous. She dived without any problems after taking a few rounds swimming near the shore and soon disappeared in the open sea.
The release of the two turtles is the first after the end of the school year and is especially dedicated to all the children who attended the Live Streaming Visit to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre this year. A total of 166 school units of all levels, with 3600 students and 180 teachers, "met" the turtles and learned their stories over the past year. "The Rescue Centre will gladly welcome the schools again from September," said Dimitris Fytilis, the Rescue Centre Officer.
Two turtles just returned to the sea but soon others, also injured or sick, will take their place in the treatment tanks. More than 1100 sea turtles have been admitted to the Centre up to now and about 54% of them were released back to the sea. The turtles are rescued and sent in by people all over Greece, in collaboration with the Coast Guards.
The work done at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada is very important for the protection and well-being of sea turtles and equally so for scientific research and education of the public and students on environmental issues. "We appreciate the presence and participation of Deputy Minister G. Amyras today in the release of the two turtles. We need the help of everyone and especially of the State in this critical year for the operation of the Rescue Centre,” said Thomas Arapis.
It is true that the ARCHELON Rescue Centre, which was established in 1994, was hit particularly hard by the pandemic due to travel restrictions affecting the arrival of volunteers and due to the cancellation of thousands of visits of schools and other groups. It survived last year thanks to a generous donation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and several other institutions and businesses, but financial problems are persisting up to this date.
How to help:
You can directly donate https://www.archelon.gr/eng/donations.php?mid=8&mid2=89 or,
Support through the “Adopt a Sea Turtle” program
The Rescue Centre is open to the public every day at specific times. To best plan your visit, see the website of ARCHELON https://www.archelon.gr/eng/help11.php?mid=1&mid2=96
Dimitris Fytilis, Rescue Centre Officer, tel.: 6944 929 622, e-mail: email@example.com
Eirini Kasimati, Rescue & Rehabilitation Officer, tel.: 6941 511 511, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org