Talitha Noble works at the Two Oceans Aquarium's turtle rehab-and-release facility.
Turtles are incredible.
It’s a fact.
Every single day these little feisty creatures inspire me.
The turtle rehabilitation programme at the Aquarium runs much like a hospital. Each little hatchling turtle is treated individually and looked after like a patient. When a stranded turtle arrives at the Aquarium it is almost always very gaunt and weak, tired, dehydrated and covered with barnacles and algae. But it’s a survivor! This astounding animal has made it through some serious ordeals in its short life, ordeals that have brought it to us. We aim to get these dudes back to their strong and sprightly selves so that they have a much better chance of surviving as adults when they are released back into the big blue.
It is all in a day's work...
My day usually starts with a bit of a turtle wake up call, checking that all the turtles are okay, that the water in their tanks is warm enough, and siphoning up any mess they may have made during the night.
Then it’s breakfast time! Their food is prepped in the food prep kitchen and the menu changes regularly. A few times a week the turtles are served a gel food filled with all the good vitamins. On other days they enjoy white mussel, squid and pilchard. The turtles get so excited when breakfast comes around, many try and bite at the food through the glass or splash water everywhere with their flapping flippers. Some are quite uncoordinated and miss their food entirely. But they all get there in the end, even if it means that I have to help a bit.
We weigh the turtles regularly to ensure that they are growing properly. We also do regular medical check-ups to ensure that they are all healthy. A large part of the day is spent cleaning, not very glamourous, but very important, to ensure that the holding tanks are always sterile and sparkly, and that no infections or germs can spread.
The hatchlings are not the only turtles we have in our rehabilitation programme. We also have a number of bigger turtles. These keep the turtle team busy for different reasons. We work on stimulating and enriching these smart animals in fun ways like building hide outs, target training them to respond to specific shapes and colours, and always giving them lots of back tickles and tummy rubs.
Our main priority is to ensure that we prepare all the turtles that come into our rehab as best we can to survive in the ocean. We want to help them get fit, strong and healthy and then send them for release on as soon as possible.
The turtle rehabilitation programme at the Two Oceans receives a large number of loggerhead hatchlings, as well as sub-adult and adult sea turtles of various species, for rehabilitation each year. The programme is funded by the Two Oceans Aquarium. To donate to this and the other conservation programmes run by the Two Oceans Aquarium, please click here
Please help us help them!
To help us raise funds for this essential animal care, Buff® South Africa has once again generously designed and produced a new, gorgeous, limited edition, just-for-us, Turtle Buff®.
You can own one of these beautiful hawksbill-inspired designs and wear it, any way you like! (By the way, all seven sea turtle species are considered endangered.)
Only 200 of these Turtle Buff®s will be sold online, and R100 will be donated to the turtle rehab-and-release progamme for every Turtle Buff® sold.
When you buy one (or two, or three) of these Turtle Buff®s (hint: Christmas is around the corner), you’ll help ensure that we are able to continue this life-giving work. This multifunctional headwear is a must for anyone who spends even a little bit of time outdoors.