Once a rescued sea turtle has been successfully rehabilitated at the Aquarium's rehab facility, a process that can take months or even years, it is time for them to be released back into the wild. Great care is taken to ensure that they are released in ideal water conditions and time of year to be able to return to their natural migration paths.

Here are the stories about some of the rehab centre residents of the Aquarium and where in the world they have gotten to:


Release: 26 November 2019
Rescue: 18 November 2018
Species: Green turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Alvi the turtle was rescued by a family enjoying a weekend at Struisbaai. After a rather epic journey, the cause of Alvi's distress was found - a plastic shopping back stuck deep in his throat, probably for weeks. With the bag removed, Alvie has shown his resilience!.


Release: 30 January 2019
Rescue: 5 June 2017
Species: Loggerhead turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Phiko arrived as a hatchling in 2017, but due to nerve damage has difficulty using two of his flippers. With ongoing physiotherapy and care, Phiko is slowly regained use of his flippers.


Release: 30 January 2019
Rescue: 22 May 2018
Species: Hawksbill turtle
IUCN status: Critically endangered

Jenga was found drifting in Lambert's Bay by a member of the public. The large portion of the back of Jenga's shell is missing, probably the result of a shark bite. This shell injury and an internal infection had made Jenga very weak, but he was able to recover his strength and be released.


Release: 20 December 2018
Rescue: 22 September 2016
Species: Green turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Against all odds, Sandy survived being struck by a boat propeller - creating a gash in her carapace so large that the tissue beneath her shell was exposed!


Release: 20 December 2018
Rescue: 29 April 2018
Species: Loggerhead turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Noci is a large male loggerhead turtle that was found washed up, covered in barnacles at Witsand. Believed to have suffered an internal infection, this big turtle was slowly nursed back to health. Thanks to the team from the Lower Breede River Conservancy for making this rescue.


Release: 20 December 2018
Rescue: 10 October 2017
Species: Green turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Moya's rescue was an incredible story of a community working together to save a life - and a big inspiration for the establishment of a permanent rescue network. Moya's injured flipper is healing well and she has become a feisty turtle!


Release: 16 December 2017
Rescue: 1997
Species: Loggerhead turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Yoshi the loggerhead was an icon of the Two Oceans Aquarium, rescued by a fishing trawler's chef and handed to the Aquarium. After two decades, and loads of research, Yoshi has been released and is making her way to Cape Verde (we think).

Follow Yoshi's journey.


Release: 20 April 2018
Rescue: 31 January 2018
​Species: Green turtle
IUCN status: Endangered

Koda was rescued by Eskom staff at Koeberg, covered in barnacles associated with floating debris, such as plastic litter - the first turtle identified with these attached! Koda made a fast recovery and was released after a short rehabilitation period.

Read more about Koda's arrival.


Release: 8 March 2018
Rescue: December 2014
Species: Olive ridley turtle
IUCN status: Vulnerable

Pemba was found floating in Table Bay with a fractured carapace from a boat strike. Once her shell had healed, Pemba was transferred to uShaka Sea World for further treatment for buoyancy problems. Pemba was released at iSimangaliso Wetland Park in a joint effort by the Two Oceans Aquarium and uShaka Sea World.

Read more about Pemba's release.


Release: 18 December 2015
Rescue: June 2014
Species: Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata)
IUCN status: Critically Endangered

Winston is a small hawksbill turtle that was stranded on the South African coast. After some time at the Two Oceans Aquarium, he was released and was tracked up the African West Coast past Gabon.

Read more.


Release: 1 December 2015
Rescue: 7 June 2014
Species: Hawksbill turtle
IUCN status: Critically Endangered

Otto the turtle was discovered at Yzerfontein when a fisherman stepped on what he thought was a mossy rock. Hawksbills are tropical turtles, and it was evident that the cold water had slowed Otto's metabolism. She was covered in mussels and her carapace was filled with gas.

Read more about Otto's release.
All about Otto's rescue.


Release date: 15 May 2014
Rescue date: June 2013
Species: Green turtle
IUCN status: Endangered 

June was found stranded on Noordhoek beach, suffering a severe lung infection. After her treatment and recovery at the Two Oceans Aquarium, she was taken to uShaka Sea World in March 2014 to get used to the warm waters where she would eventually be released.

The story of June.

No hatchlings on the list? That because we have released hundreds of them! Find out more about the rehab journey of a turtle hatchling.

Why are some turtles tagged and not others?

Satellite tracking tags are very expensive. We'd love to be able to tag all the turtles we release, but unfortunately, this is not realistic. We, therefore, focus our tracking efforts on larger turtles, as they can carry a larger tag that lasts longer and is less likely to be shed as their carapace grows.