Jet-setting turtles return to KZN home

2015-05-08 12:54
(Two Oceans Aquarium, Supplied)

(Two Oceans Aquarium, Supplied)

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Rehabilitated turtles returned to the warm Durban ocean

2015-01-29 17:48

Every year a number of juvenile loggerhead turtles are washed up on Cape Town beaches. These turtles are then rehabilitated and released into the warm Indian ocean off the coast of Durban. Watch.WATCH

Durban - After a detour in the icy waters of the Cape and a trip thousands of feet above sea level, a batch of juvenile Loggerhead turtles are finally back where they belong, in somewhat balmier waters off KwaZulu-Natal.

“Seventy-eight turtles left Ushaka [in Durban] at about 09:00 and the boat headed 15km from the shore. They are going to be released in batches,” Ushaka Marine World spokesperson Ann Kunz told News24 on Friday morning.

“We are releasing them now before the cold current comes and it’s a good day to release them because of the weather.”

All but four of the turtles were sent by the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.

They were packed up in breathable plastic boxes and flown up to Ushaka on Thursday afternoon.

Two Oceans Aquarium spokesperson Renee Leeuwner said turtles laid their eggs on the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast and most of the hatchlings followed the warm water currents, which initially headed south before turning back.

Record number

There were a record number of hatchlings that drifted down to the Western Cape.

An investigation still needed to be done as to what caused so many to stray from their natural habitat.

“Annually, we get about 20 and these are mostly from Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. This year we’ve had a big influx from Struisbaai and Arniston,” Leeuwner said.

The straight line distance between Natal and Struisbaai or Muizenberg is around 1600km-1800km.

“The public bring them in and we have a little thing where we ask people not to put them back in the water, keep them dry and at room temperature and then bring them to us. We are very thankful for the public.”

Handpicked

The 74 were chosen to make the trip because they showed continuous weight gain, dived well and ate well.

She said 115 juveniles remained at the aquarium and were keeping staff very busy.

The turtles were fed a blend of gelatin, prawns, mussels and fish fillets.

“It’s a lot of hard work. The vet is keeping an eye on every single one of them. They are weighed, fed and observed individually. We’ll keep these until they are ready to be released.”

Read more on:    durban  |  cape town  |  animals

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