Here at the Two Oceans Aquarium's turtle rescue, rehab and release centre we've seen much hatchling growth and health improvements, but have also been tested with some severely ill hatchlings. It's been a tough quarter, but both our hatchlings and the conservation team have been real troopers!
The Cape of Storms has delivered three large distressed turtles to our rehabilitation centre: A hawksbill turtle (Jenga), a mature male loggerhead (Nocawe) and a fully grown green turtle (The BFT). Jenga and Nocawe are recovering very well, but unfortunately, The BFT succumbed to lung and intestinal damage sustained at sea. While most of the rescued hatchlings are doing well, we have had a few unfortunate casualties from amongst these little lives too.
The long-term residents are doing well. Bob is still loving his chilled afternoon laps of the I&J Ocean Exhibit and Moya spends her day zooming around with curiosity and coyness. Phiko enjoyed spending some time with new tropical roommates and sassy Sandy is putting all her fiery energy into the final stages of shell healing, reminding us that strength, perseverance and a healthy appetite for carrots can get you through even the most trying of situations.
The rescued hatchlings of 2018 have been extremely compromised, and although there were relatively few strandings, those turtles that we have been able to nurse back to health have required extraordinary care - costing far more than usual.
For this reason, we will not be running a hatchling adoption for 2018. Instead, we are teaming up with The Little Optimist trust for Project Turtle - to spread hope, healing and optimism for sick kids and stricken sea turtles.
We are excited to welcome the support of John Dory’s for our sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release project. John Dory’s has chosen to make a financial contribution towards the extensive rehabilitation of Phiko, a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling that arrived at the Aquarium with unique needs and a truly inspiring survival story. Find out more about Phiko and John Dory's.
Turtle Rescue Network feature: Lower Breede River Conservancy
Many people think that we at the Aquarium have an awesome job being able to care for precious rescued sea turtles - and rightly so. But this work would not be possible without the special people beyond the Aquarium who help to save these lives.
The Lower Breede River Conservancy Trust is one such group, who along with all their other daily conservation tasks, have found the time and passion to join us as turtle rescuers in the Two Oceans Aquarium Turtle Rescue Network.
The LBRCT monitor water quality, angling activities, fish tagging, bait collection and amongst many other tasks, also run oystercatcher and plover protection projects. They comb the beaches, rescue and assist injured animals and go out of their way to bring stranded and injured turtles to safety as quickly as possible.
This year, we have LBRCT to thank for rescuing three of our hatchlings as well as Nocawe the loggerhead. We look forward to many more adventures with the team from LBRCT and we thank them with much turtle love!
Phiko joined the wrasses and angelfish in the Sketting Diversity Gallery for a short while to help heal his tiny flippers. He just keeps growing, and has already outgrown this exhibit and been moved back to our rehab centre.
On 22 May, we received a call about a turtle found floating in the kelp in Lambert's Bay. This critically endangered hawksbill turtle was rescued by local Dougie Leech and arrived at the Aquarium amidst World Turtle Day celebrations.
Jenga - so named because a portion of her shell was missing, possibly due to a shark bite - arrived with several injuries to her rear-end. She has responded well to a treatment of antibiotics and has visibly perked up (and gained quite an appetite).
Today Jenga is a healthy turtle and has developed quite a feisty yet curious personality. Her tail wounds have healed and, if all goes well, Jenga should be released at the by of the year.
More turtle news
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