CULTURE

After five years, Sophia swims to freedom

The young sea turtle (Caretta-caretta) Sophia was recently released from captivity after five years of treatment at the Archelon Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Glyfada. In May 2000, the turtle was taken there after being found with severe injuries to her head and body, and was put on antibiotics for four years. The first three months, she was unable to dive underwater. After three years she began to recover and was able to retrieve food from the bottom of the tank where she was being kept, although there were still problems due to an air pocket trapped under her shell that did not allow her to stay submerged. That was solved by attaching 1,000 grams of weights to her shell, and which were gradually removed as she began to dive more easily. Before her release a few days ago, she was fitted with a satellite sensor (see www.seaturtle.org) so scientists can track her movements and learn more about how these animals live. Bon voyage, Sophia! Archelon is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 for the purpose of carrying out research on sea turtles, caring for them and their habitats and making the public more aware about them. (Tel. 210.523.1342, www.archelon.gr.)