Nocawe: “Girl who arrived on Sunday”.

Like the isiXhosa name Nocawe suggests, the Two Oceans Aquarium turtle rehab centre received this giant newcomer on a contented and warm Sunday afternoon, 29 April 2018. Noci, as those who are affectionate with her like to call her, is a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), weighing 64.7kg (big, but still only a third the size Yoshi was when she was released), who washed up on a beach near Witsand. Rescuing a turtle is a team effort and this was no exception.

This poor turtle has been in trouble for days - she would have been adrift at sea for a long time before washing up at Witsand.

Mark and Sharon Coller found this stranded turtle that Sunday morning, washed up among the rocks, and quickly contacted the local NSRI station. The NSRI, in turn, contacted the Lower Breede River Conservancy (LBRC) and together they helped get the stranded loggerhead turtle off the beach and onto the back of a bakkie.

Photo courtesy of the Lower Breede River Conservancy (check out their newsletter).

The Two Oceans Aquarium has a good relationship with the LBRC, as they are one of our official Turtle Rescue Network points and have rescued quite a few turtles in the past, including our darling Sandy the green turtle. We were incredibly grateful that some of their staff - Tasmyn Taylor, Gershwin Feilies and his young daughter Ava - were willing and able to drop everything and drive this precious cargo all the way down to our rescue facility at the Aquarium.

It truly takes an army to save a turtle.

Upon arrival, our newest patient was taken up to the veterinary clinic and examined. Her carapace was given a good clean, but was covered in large barnacles that would take time to remove. No major external injuries were found, but the presence of the barnacles indicated that she had been floating for quite some time.

Noci gets a quick exam to check for major injuries.

Blood samples were taken for analysis and the results indicated that she had a systemic infection. The cause of this infection was unknown and we, therefore, treated her with a range of antibiotics, antifungals and vitamins to treat all possible causes, as well as fluids to rehydrate her.

Some freshwater, while the team from LBRC that dropped her off make sure she is ok.

Over time, Noci regained her strength and developed quite an appetite, but when turtles float for a prolonged period of time due to injury or illness, their digestive systems slowly shut down. For this reason, she is only getting small amounts of food until her digestive system is working properly again. We are incredibly proud of how Noci has been responding to her treatments, what a conqueror!

Let's get that dirty shell spotless Noci!

We need to give special thanks to Gary Taylor, who paid for Noci's transport from Witsand to the Aquarium. Support like this is so valuable because it allows animals to reach our facility as soon as possible to receive the vital care that they need. 

Thanks for helping me reach the Two Oceans Aquarium Gary!

How can you help?

Loggerheads, together with green turtles, leatherbacks and the occasional hawksbill turtle, are all threatened species that need our help to survive in South Africa's waters. Here are a few ways that you can help them to have a fighting chance:

Photo courtesy of the Lower Breede River Conservancy
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