Difficult year at the ARCHELON Rescue Center
2014 is the 20 year anniversary for the ARCHELON Rescue Center. It was created in 1994 in collaboration with the municipality of Glyfada.
Since the opening of the Rescue center we have recorded over 5000 dead sea turtles along the coastline of Greece.
This year has been a difficult year for the ARCHELON Rescue Center. First the ARCHELON National Rescue Network recorded 627 stranded turtles which is new record for the number of dead turtles. The first 3 regions concerned were the Peloponnese, East Macedonia and Attica. This very concerning for the future of the sea turtle population. Also the dead sea turtles recorded represent only a very small portion of the reality.
Stranded turtles per year from 2004-2014
According to MEDASSET latest figures around 44000 dead turtles would be reported every year in the Mediterranean region. This is very alarming!
Since the opening of the ARCHELON Rescue Center we admitted over 900 injured sea turtles. Two thirds have been successfully released to their natural environment.
This year only at the Rescue Center we treated 100 turtles. 21 have spent last winter with us. We received 79 new turtle during the year. Half of all the turtles were treated for intentional head traumas, 25 were injured due to fishery interaction, and 8 others were victims of dog predation.
Injured turtles at the ARCHELON Rescue Center 2014
In 2014 we had special concerns regarding 3 different issues.
Intentional head traumas
Intentional injuries are always a difficult topic to discuss. Some people take the side of the fishermen saying that that have to survive and make a living. It is true that large vessel either trawling or using long lines impact heavily the fish stock.
This represented half of our turtles admitted at the ARCHELON Rescue Center.
But artisanal fisherman sometimes fish in illegal zones or with forbidden areas, causing them to catch smaller fish or even turtles. Some are frustrated to catch turtles and often blame them for the lack of fish. This leads some of them to hit then on the head causing them suffering and a long painful death. Keep in mind that only a minority of them are injuring turtle intentionally. Most of them participate actively in saving this endangered species.
This type of predation hasn't occurred for many years and definitively not at this magnitude. This year we had 8 incidents al, of them in the Kiparissia project. Thankfully 7 were released after some weeks of rehabilitation. One sadly had very severe injuries and did soon after arriving.
The dogs were often seen in packs on the beach at night time. They would attack the turtle on the upper part of the flipper. The injury would be quite deep and required cleaning and treatment. We need to keep an eye on this issue in the next years.
66 of the 627 stranded turtles came from the Athens region.
12 of the 100 turtles treated also came from Attica. This puts them in 4th position after the Peloponnese (18), the Ionian Islands (15) and Epirus (14).
All these turtles came from all over Greece, from as far north as Sagiada (near the Albanian border) and as far south as the island of Rhodes.
Thankfully 43 were successfully released after being rehabilitated. 22 have remained at the end of the year in our facilities and we hope to release many of them in spring. Please visit our section about the Archelon Rescue Centre and support our patients.
You can sponsor one of them for 5 euros a day, give items such as fish or squid. You can also donate a box of gloves or some large gauzes.
If you have time please come and volunteer from one day a week.