Two Oceans Aquarium celebrates turtles

2018-05-31 14:48
The turtles tucked into their mostly vegetarian cake. Photo: Nicole McCain

The turtles tucked into their mostly vegetarian cake. Photo: Nicole McCain

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All the turtles which have exited the Two Oceans Aquarium’s turtle rehabilitation centre would have had a 100% mortality rate had they not been brought to the aquarium.

This sentiment, voiced by the aquarium’s curator, Maryke Musson, celebrated the work done by the aquarium in protecting turtles at a World Turtle Day event on Wednesday.

The event, held at the aquarium, invited “friends of their turtle rescue, rehab and release programme” to celebrate the success of the programme.

“All these turtles were found on our beaches … where they do not belong. Because of people, and people who really care, they ended up here. So today I want us to really celebrate everybody who has contributed to caring for turtles and giving us the opportunity to rehabilitate them and get them back into the ocean where they belong,” Musson said at the event.

The aquarium boasts an almost 80% release rate of turtles brought to the aquarium for treatment, Musson says. Since the aquarium started tagging some of the turtles released, Musson said, they have been able “to validate their work”.

“We put healthy turtles back into the ocean and what a reward it is to see them swimming up past Angola or, with (recently released hawksbill turtle) Otto, swimming past Madagascar. It’s fantastic,” she said.

Two Oceans Aquarium turtle rehabilitation aquarist Talitha Noble commended the range of people from different organisations who contribute to turtle conservation. This year, the programme launched their turtle rescue network. The network includes 10 points across the coastline, such as Shark Spotters in Muizenberg, at which organisations act as contact points for residents who find stranded turtles, Noble explained.

But the most important guests were not forgotten – a special cake was made for the aquarium’s turtles, Moya, Bob and Sandy.

All are green turtles and the cake was made to suit their mostly vegetarian diet, boasting layers of cabbage, peas, carrot, cucumber, seaweed, peppers and white mussels – bound together with gelatine and nutrient gel.

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