ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece

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For the prehistoric sea turtle, see Archelon.

ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece was founded in 1983. It aims to protect sea turtles and their habitats in Greece through research, public awareness campaigns, restoring habitats, and through its rescue centre, built in 1994.

ARCHELON is a partner to the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan, and is hosting the 2006 International Sea Turtle Conference. Despite working with major national and international bodies, ARCHELON relies heavily on the work of volunteers, of which there are some 400 each year.

They state that due to their work:

  • Every year over 2,500 nests are protected against human threats, predation and sea inundation.
  • Nearly 4,000 turtles have been tagged in order to monitor their movements in the sea. Recently satellite transmitters have been used.
  • Over 50 injured or sick turtles are treated every year at the Rescue Centre at Glyfada (Athens).
  • Three permanent and 10 seasonal stations are operated by ARCHELON on Zakynthos, Peloponnesus and Crete.
  • About 200,000 tourists are directly contacted through ARCHELON's diverse programmes every year
  • Over 13,000 students participate every year in the educational programmes

The rescue centre is currently undergoing development and expansion, and an emergency turtle first-aid centre was built in 2005, on Crete. In 2004, as Athens hosted the Olympic games resulted in a tight financial situation for Greece nationally, which resulted in cuts in its environmental services, which included the closure of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, a move strongly contested by ARCHELON and its members, who prepared a petition.