Even though we have just said goodbye to our last volunteer group of the season, we have had a fun-packed two weeks full of hatchlings, tagging events, boat beach cleans and activities.
In the last two weeks, we have had a very good success rate for the nest AM12R. The first hatching date was great with a high number of hatchlings helped to sea. This was an amazing experience for our volunteers to be a part of and have seen several hatchlings during their time at Wildlife Sense.
Our last remaining nest – KA20R – located on Megali Ammos has not started hatching yet. This could be due to the weather starting to become cooler and this can sometimes slow down the incubation period. With the nest well past the normal incubation period, we candled the top eggs to check the progress of the nest and indeed they were late-stage embryos that need more time. We quickly closed the nest and will wait until we see a hatchling emerge. Candling eggs is where an experienced team member will shine a light through the egg and we can then tell if the embryo is viable. We are, therefore, confident that this nest will start hatching soon.
The last couple of weeks have also been really exciting in terms of tagging events. Overall, this group of volunteers have had over 15 turtles who have all been measured and released back into the harbour. Our team was exceptionally happy when Josh and the team managed to catch three juvenile Green turtles in the harbour. This allows us to monitor the population of Green turtles in the harbour as this particular species do not tend to be found in the seas of Kefalonia but rather in different parts of Europe and North America. Therefore, it’ll be interesting for us to monitor this in the future and understand the migration patterns of different species of turtles.
We also had a rescue of a Loggerhead turtle named Missy who was reported in the harbour with a big boat propeller strike and some buoyancy problems. After taking her to the vet, Spiridoula Vavasi, and taking an x-ray, it was found that she also had a lung infection and needed some antibiotics. Multiple sea turtle rescue centres were consulted and a treatment plan was created to ensure she gets back into the sea in the best condition. After a week of close monitoring, our team released Missy back into the Lagoon and she has since been seen looking very well. Be sure to keep an eye out for her!
Finally, we have also been taking part in some really fun activities over the last few weeks. Along with the Core Team, our volunteers embarked on a day of beach cleaning with the Queen Bee which is a fantastic boat trip here in Argostoli. This allowed us to clean some more remote beaches such as White Rocks, Rabbit Island and Megas Lakkas. This week, we also took a group trip up to Mount Ainos where we learnt some interesting things about the geology of the national park as well as the island. We understand how Mount Ainos has formed over millions of years from the Eurasian and African tectonic plates moving closer together. As a result, the mountain has been growing at a rate of 3-5cm yearly.
Overall, we have had an amazing season and look forward to welcoming our team and future groups of volunteers back next year.
Written by Emma Hawkes