Joanne, whatʼs new at the Rescue Centre in June 2015?
Our volunteer at the Rescue Centre Joanne Stournara updates us on the events from 1 - 30 June 2015.
As is usual at this time of year, things are very busy at the Rescue Centre. The number of turtles currently being treated is 26.
‘Aristides’ had been found on 21 December 2104 at nearby Alimou Marina suffering from hypothermia. He had no other injuries, recovered his health, and was released on 5 June 2015, accompanied by students from the Stavraki scol in Glyfada.
‘Lefteris’ came to the RC on 23 September 2014 from Preveza with a head injury and was released from Astros on 11 June 2015. At the request of the Parnona-Mostou Management Agency, a special educational event was arranged with the primary school Paralia Astros and ARCHELON so that the children could learn more about the turtle and could watch its release. An article about the event can be read at http://www.archelon.gr/eng/ournews.php?row=row10&nid=756.
Many thanks to the staff at the Management Agency for their interest and cooperation.
(The reason for this special interest by the Management Agency was that some time earlier, students from the school had found and rescued a sea turtle, which was sent to the RC for treatment. The students raised funds to help pay for the turtle’s treatment at the RC and closely followed its progress. When the turtle was ready to be released, it was not possible for the release to take place at Astro, so RC Co-ordinator Pavlo Tsaros arranged for ‘Lefteris’ to be released from Astros in place of the first turtle.)
(Note: the Parnona-Mostou Management Agency is responsible for managing a large area of unique Natura-protected wetlands and Mediterranean forest. For more information, visit their website at www.parnonaslife.gr. Better yet, next time you are in the area, be sure to visit the education centre and spend time exploring the protected areas.)
‘Kastello’, who arrived at the RC with a head injury on 13 May 2014 from Rio, was released on 24 June 2015.
‘Yiannis’, who arrived at the RC on 6 January 2015 from Samos with an ingested hook, was released on 19 June 2015.
‘Nicoletta’ a green turtle who arrived at the RC on 16 January 2015 from Rhodes with a head injury, was released on 23 June 2015.
‘Giorgia’, who arrived at the RC on 21 March from Oropos with a flipper injury, was released on 23 June 2015.
‘Leslie’, who arrived at the RC on 27 April from Hydra suffering from hypothermia, was released on 19 June 2015.
‘Emilia’, a 58-kilo Caretta caretta, came to the RC on 2 June 2015 from Kyparissia after being severely bitten by a dog/dogs while she was nesting. (Yes, the dogs are back on the beach this year!) She was found by ARCHELON volunteers on the nesting beach, bleeding severely. They managed to stop the bleeding and prepare her for transport to the RC. When she arrived, her injuries had started bleeding again – two main blood vessels were ruptured and had to be sutured. She is now stable, active and eating by herself. Unfortunately, she aborted a number of eggs in her tank.
‘Lysi’, a Caretta whose carapace measures 75.5 cm and who weighs 56 kilos, came to the RC on 12 June 2015 from Karpathos. She was rescued and sent to Athens by the staff at the Management Agency of Karpathos. After 18 hours of travelling by ferry, she was collected in Athens by ARCHELON personnel and brought to the RC. A line was visible protruding from her mouth; an X-ray confirmed that she has an ingested hook in her throat. The hook will be removed surgically next week.
‘Apollon’, a loggerhead whose carapace measures 65.0 cm and who weighs 29 kilos, came to the RC on 1 June 2015 from Samos with head and flipper injuries. His condition is stable, but he is not able to eat on his own.
‘Loukas’ arrived at the RC on 12 June 2015 from Thessaloniki. The turtle, whose carapace measures 39 cm and who weighs 6 kilos, has a severe head injury.
‘Tino’, a loggerhead with a 76 cm carapace and who weighs 45 kilos, arrived at the RC on 15 June 2015 from Lefkada. The turtle has a severe head injury deliberately inflicted by human hands.
‘Junior’ is a small Caretta, whose carapace measures 31.5 cm and who weighs 3.5 kilos, was found floating on the surface near the nearby island of Kea/Tzia. The turtle was rescued by the owners of a private boat, who transported the turtle to Athens and then brought him the rest of the way to the RC in their car on 15 June 2015. The turtle has no visible injuries or ingested hooks. He is now diving and eating normally and will be released soon.
‘Barbara’, a loggerhead with a head injury, arrived at the RC on 19 June 2015 from Amfilochia.
‘Zina’, a loggerhead with a 68-cm carapace and who weighs 29 kilos, arrived at the RC on 23 June from Skopelos with a head injury. (To the surprise of the RC volunteers, a small high-spurred land turtle (Testudo graeca) had been sent along with ‘Zina’. The land turtle had been badly burnt in a fire; it was given treatment for its injuries and several weeks later, was adopted by a family in Glyfada who have a home with a garden.)
‘Fotis’ is a small green turtle with a carapace measuring 42.5 cm and who weighs 7 kilos. He came to the RC on 26 June 2015 from Rethymno with head, neck and flipper injuries.
‘Sophia’, a loggerhead with a major carapace injury caused by a propeller, arrived on 30 June 2015. The turtle, whose carapace measures 71cm and who weighs 49 kilos, was rescued by a volunteer from another organization. She had been seen floating in the harbour of Kalamata for about a month before she was able to be rescued.
Many thanks to everyone involved in rescuing and transporting these turtles!
Unfortunately, several turtles died as a result of their injuries.
‘Roussa’ had arrived at the RC in September 2014 from Zakynthos.. She had no visible injuries or ingested hooks, but was very lethargic and had to be tube fed. When she was unable to produce feces, it was suspected that she may have ingested plastic and was give special pharmaceutical oil. The diagnosis and treatment were correct, and she began to produce feces with bits of plastic in them. After that, she started eating and diving and was programmed to move into a big tank for final observation prior to being released. However, she was found dead in her tank one morning. A necropsy revealed that she had a number of undeveloped eggs in her body. The exact cause of her death is unknown.
Another turtle (referred to as ‘Lef 1’) had arrived from Lefkada on 8 June with a very severe head injury deliberately inflicted by human hands. She died the next day. A necropsy was performed, and the results were shocking: her intestines had been shredded by an ingested line! A separate article about ingested fishing line and the damage it causes will be published on the website shortly. Meanwhile, more information about this threat to sea turtles can be found in the Did you know…? section of this report.
‘Pat 1’ was sent to the RC on 13 June from Patra. The turtle had no visible injuries, but arrived dead. A necropsy did not reveal anything that would have caused the turtle’s death.
‘Pat 2’ was a green turtle found and sent to the RC on 15 June by members of the staff of the Kotychi – Strofylia Wetlands Managing Body in the northwest Peloponnese. Although the turtle had no visible injuries, it died shortly after its arrival. A necropsy was performed but did not produce any conclusive results about the cause of the turtle’s death. Many thanks to all the people at the Kotychi-Strofylia Wetlands Managing Body for rescuing and arranging transport for the turtle. (For more information about the Kotychi-Strofylia Wetlands and the Managing Body, visit their site (available in both Greek and English) http://www.strofylianationalpark.gr/index.php/en/home-en2/84-strofylia-en/175-xairetismos-en
In June, two more turtles were found dead in Naxos from fishery interaction. One was obviously caught in a net and drowned, while the second was stabbed to death. At the request of ARCHELON, the port police were asked to investigate this crime. For photos more information about stranded turtles on Naxos, see the Facebook page Προστασια Αγριας Ζωης Ναξου https://www.facebook.com/ProstasiaAgriasZoesNaxou?fref=ts
Did you know?
One of the most damaging and difficult to treat type of injury a sea turtle can suffer is an ingested fishing line. In cases of a hook and line ingestion, more damage is caused by the line rather than the hook.
A hook can remain inside the turtle or gradually pass through its body and be eliminated naturally without causing irreparable damage. In contrast, an ingested line can become entangled in the turtle’s intestines, where it can shred the intestines, resulting in a slow and painful death.
Lines cannot be surgically removed and must be eliminated by the turtle naturally. In some cases, special pharmaceutical oil is given to the turtles to help the line move more easily through its system. However, in some cases, the turtle reaches us too late for this therapy to work.
If you ever come across a turtle with a piece of fishing line visible in its mouth or cloaca, NEVER pull on the line or try to remove it. Instead, notify the port police and ARCHELON immediately. Keep the turtle out of the water, and cover its eyes with a wet piece of gauze to protect them from the sun, and cover its body with a wet towel for the same reason.