Two Oceans Aquarium staff bid bon voyage on Thursday to a rehabilitated green turtle, affectionately known as Yoda. Yoda was released back into the ocean in warm water some 15 nautical miles off Cape Point after eight months in rehabilitation at the Aquarium.
Yoda (gender unconfirmed) was brought to the Aquarium in June 2013 after ‘she’ washed up on Melkbos beach. Upon arrival at the Aquarium, she was weak and dehydrated. She weighed just 4.9kg and measured 36.5cm in carapace length and 36cm in width.
According to Dr Georgina Cole, the Aquarium’s resident vet, “We were concerned that Yoda had an intestinal blockage of some sort so we took her for regular X-rays to see what was happening in the intestines. Once we had tube fed her a few times things started to move. It also seemed that she had a heavy parasite load because once we had dewormed her she started to pick up weight nicely.” Upon her release, Yoda weighed 7.16kg and measured 40cm (carapace length) and 38.8cm (carapace width).
Aquarist Kevin Spiby said it was with mixed emotions that he said goodbye to Yoda, who had been in his care since June 2013. Dr Cole agreed, saying, “It is hard because we don’t know what will ultimately happen to the animal once it is back in the ocean.”
But once Yoda hit the warm water there was no holding her back, and she headed off swiftly into the beautiful blue.
Yoda has a flipper tag and a microchip similar to those used in domestic cats and dogs so that she can be identified if she is caught or stranded again.
Read more about the Two Oceans Aquarium’s conservation projects. You can also make a donation to help us with our conservation efforts.