Turtles are amongst the oldest animals on the planet – they’ve been around since the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, they are also some of the most threatened species in the world.
Why One Blue Heart?
Today, most threats facing turtle populations are human-induced, such as plastic pollution, poaching, and entanglement in ghost fishing gear. Thankfully, there is a flip side to the bad news: since turtles are affected by human-induced issues, humans are the ones who can make a positive difference. The Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre is dedicated to this core belief: we can all take small steps towards a brighter future for turtles and other marine life. Our team is committed to conserving turtles and working towards reviving the global turtle population. Rescue of injured turtles, management of their paths from rehabilitation to release, regular tagging and contribution to the scientific database, as well as promoting awareness, are central aspects of the Centre.
The Turtle Conservation Centre sees over 100 endangered turtles each year, most of which are eventually returned to the ocean, healthy, after receiving extensive veterinary care. This is all made possible through donations, fundraising, and generous sponsorships. To maximise its capacity for rehabilitating turtles and educating the public, the Turtle Conservation Centre aims to expand its facilities to include a standalone, state-of-the-art marine wildlife hospital, unlike any other in the African continent. This space will serve as a refuge for injured and stranded turtles, as well as foster awareness and educate visitors who want to learn about turtles and the threats they face in the ocean. However, this multimillion-Rand project requires great effort and dedication to ensure its success – which is where One Blue Heart was instrumental.
A blue carpet for the turtles
Together with The Good Machine, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation hosted a one-of-a-kind blue carpet event dedicated to raising funds for the Turtle Conservation Centre. Held at the gorgeous One&Only Cape Town, One Blue Heart was an uplifting evening of hope towards a brighter future for turtles. The night was made possible through the generous support of Cloudigital Museum and FNB, without whom we would not have hosted such an incredible event.
One Blue Heart paid tribute to turtles in incredible ways: South African musician, Zolani Mahola, captivated guests with her beautiful voice and Pulitzer Prize winner Dele Olojede soothed them with his words. Guests had the opportunity to acquire unique artworks that celebrated marine life in all its glory, including pieces from Ardmore, Dylan McGarry, Robbie Rorich, Janet Ormond, Bob the Turtle, Wilson Ngoni, and Elke Knabe. With the end goal of healthy oceans and healthy turtles in mind, One&Only Cape Town’s Chef Jacques Swart created a zero-waste three-course meal, ensuring that no plastic or other materials were discarded after the event. Furthermore, guests were asked to wear sustainable fashion, stressing the negative impact of fast fashion on the environment. Our guests went above and beyond, sporting slow-fashion gowns, handmade designs, and upcycled outfits.
One Blue Heart was a (blue) heart-warming event that paid tribute to the turtles. Thanks to the generous support of our guests, collaborators, and supporters, the Foundation is considerably closer to realising our vision of rehabilitating more turtles and impacting more lives. However, we must continue to show the same compassion and care in our day-to-day lives. Our most impactful ambassador Bob the turtle, released after eight years of rehabilitation resulting from plastic ingestion, reminds us that we can all play a part in protecting the ocean and its inhabitants. Even something small, like picking up a few pieces of litter when you visit the beach, can lead to remarkable change. By turning passion into action, we can make a difference in the future of turtles.
One Blue Heart inspired change agents, celebrated stories of hope, and ignited action for the turtles.
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