The rescue and rehabilitation of Platis

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We were happy to learn that "Platis", a sea turtle that was found with heavy head injuries near Platis Gialos of Kefalonia during the summer, has recovered from his injuries after months of treatment and rehabilitation and was released back to the sea!

Kayakers came upon a floating sea turtle

How it all started

On July 12 of this past summer, our friends George Gazetas and Dawn Horsbourgh with the Sea Kayaking Kefalonia team were paddling between Platis Gialos and White Rocks when they came upon a loggerhead sea turtle floating on the surface of the water. They often encounter turtles that quickly swim away, but this one didn't seem to move at all. He was struggling to just stay on the surface and breathe.

The team used two kayaks as a stretcher

A closer look revealed that the turtle was suffering from heavy injuries on its head and needed immediate help. They carefully put the turtle across two kayaks and called the Wildlife Sense team to begin a rescue operation. They slowly and carefully moved towards Platis Gialos, where the team could meet them with the rescue van and equipment.

George helped get the turtle to Wildlife Sense

The kayakers passed the turtle to Harry Thomas and Annya McKenzie of Wildlife Sense, who made an initial assessment and urgently transported it to a local Vet. At the vet clinic, Platis received much-needed first aid and medication to increase the turtle's slim chances of survival.

This sea turtle had severe head injuries

What caused the injury?

The turtle had been hit on the head with a sharp and heavy object such as an axe several times. This assessment was made both by ourselves and by the experienced staff at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre. The most likely scenario was that the turtle was caught in a fishing net and found alive by the fishermen in the morning. Instead of just releasing it, some fishermen choose to kill the turtle so "he won't do it again". This is brutal and inhumane, and it is also very illegal.

Platis had severe head injuries and needed rehabilitation

To the Rescue Centre

The turtle had survived initially but it was in critical condition because of the extent of the injury and the risk of damage and infection to its brain. We transported the turtle to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Athens where it could receive care from experienced veterinary surgeons and long-term rehabilitation if it survived.

Most sea turtles travel in a specially made container through public transportation. Due to Platis' especially critical condition, David Green drove the turtle with our rescue box in his car to the turtle to the Rescue Centre with Harry. Levante Ferries kindly donated the turtle's ferry ride with the car.

Happy news!

This turtle suffered from very heavy head injuries, and its initial chances of survival did not look very good. Every time we heard news of its recovery, we were just happy to know it was still alive. But finally, we were very happy to learn that its injures were closed and he was able to survive independently. The turtle was released by the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre staff back to the sea. We hope to see him return to Kefalonia for the next season!

Released sea turtle returning to the sea

Written by Nikos Vallianos


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