Turtle rescue

Do Good - Feel Good

Two Oceans Aquarium runs some amazing education and outreach programmes, along with volunteers and its animals, of course! These include initiatives specifically tackling the destructive plastic waste that hinders, chokes and kills sea creatures, with its environmental campaigns, the seal disentanglement programme and their conservation and research initiatives. 

Something that caught our eye is the Aquarium’s turtle rehabilitation and release programme.

Each year concerned members of the public bring sea turtles, washed up on Western Cape beaches, to the Aquarium for rehabilitation. These turtles range in size from as small as 25g, all the way up to 76kg! The turtles receive all necessary medical assistance, which can include x-rays, MRI scans, surgery and even physiotherapy. Once the turtles have returned to good health and have been given clearance by a veterinarian, they are either flown to Durban and released, or are released into the warmer waters that are seasonally found just off Cape Point.

The aquarium also recently released its resident loggerhead turtle, Yoshi. Her satellite tag is still active and you can follow her progress in the ocean by checking in on the aquarium’s blog, via the link on www.aquarium.co.za. Visitors to the aquarium also have the opportunity to learn more about the turtles and other sea creatures during the daily interactive feeds.

Hotline for stranded sea animals

Each year concerned members of the public bring sea turtles, washed up on Western Cape beaches, to the Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Plettenberg Bay now has its very own marine animal stranding hotline. The network is co-ordinated by local marine mammal scientist Dr. Gwenith Penry, who is an appointed strandings agent for the Port Elizabeth Museum along with Frikkie van der Vyver and Danielle Conry. The network consists of a group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time to respond to marine animals in distress, and to collect valuable samples and data on dead marine mammals too. 

Marine mammals are protected under strict national and international laws and the volunteers, therefore, work closely with CapeNature, Port Elizabeth Museum, SANParks, South African Whale Disentanglement Network, the Department Environmental Affairs and Tenikwa Rehabilitation Centre; ensuring a rapid response from a variety of specialists who are permitted to handle and assess them.

What to do when you encounter a stranded marine animal?

  • Give it space and assess the situation from a safe distance.
  • Take a photo if you can and send it, along with pertinent information, to the stranding hotline.
  • Details to include: species (or detailed description of the animal), location, live or dead, any visible injuries, and circumstances of the situation (is it on a crowded beach, or a difficult to access position). This will help them know what sort of equipment to bring and who to contact for assistance.

PLETT HOTLINE – 0794634837