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Conservation

Current turtles in our care

Meet our turtles

Adults and sub-adults

Most of our larger turtles were released 14 January 2021 – check out our page on turtle releases. We will update everyone on the journeys of Luis and Annie, as both were fitted with a satellite tag.

Below are our long-term patients who need ongoing care and are not fit to be released yet. 

Favourite food: carrots

Favourite activity: eating and getting back scratches

Current weight: 77 kg

Bob

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Conservation status: Endangered

Bob is a green turtle and has been with us since November 2014. He has had a rocky road with many health issues that have troubled him over the years. When he first arrived at our turtle rehabilitation centre he had a bad wound on his plastron, which is the shell on a turtle’s abdomen, and he was not eating. Bob’s wound on his plastron slowly healed, however we needed to tube feed him for a long time as he was just not interested in food. He underwent many medical tests, including blood test, x-rays and a MRI scan. He also developed meningitis, which caused temporary blindness. Bob also had not pooped since he arrived, another concerning medical factor. Finally, after three months of no eating and no pooping, our turtle team found several pieces of plastic bags and balloons floating in Bob’s medical pool. He had eaten these in the ocean and they caused several of his medical issues. Once the plastic was out of his system, Bob started improving rapidly. He is currently living in the I&J Ocean Exhibit of the Two Oceans Aquarium. Bob has some mid-brain damage, which means that he responds to things slower than most turtles. This is the main reason why he has not been released back into the ocean. We are hoping to do so soon, however, as soon as we are confident that Bob is ready and able to survive in the ocean on his own.

Check out our blog about Bob, and Talitha who rasied more than R10 000 so that Bob can be released in the near future. Another blog about Bob details how we are preparing him be release-ready through enrichment programmes. 

Harry

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Conservation status: Endangered

Harry arrived at the Aquarium 21 October 2020, from Stillbaai, weighing 13,5 kg. When he arrived we noticed that he had nasty damage on his shell. Not open wounds, but rather shell rot – an infection underneath the scutes of the carapace. We needed to take off a large number of his scutes to clean his wounds and be able to treat them properly.

Whilst incredibly weak and clearly fighting intense infection, Harry has pushed through- like the magical wizard he is! 

His recovery is slow, as he has much healing to do and this takes huge energy. We are making sure he is comfortable while this happens, that he has a nice warm clean tank, some space to take deep breaths and move his flippers, and yummy snacks throughout the day. Harry has only made two poos since arriving, but this already contained plastic. He is swimming well, but we will be doing further medical tests and x-rays to see whether there are any underlying conditions. 

We are proud of how this magnificent turtle is chugging along and are cheerleading him every step of the way!

Favourite food: not eating enough to know for sure

Favourite activity: totally obsessed with scratches

Current weight: 13.5 kg

Favourite food: squid, pilchard and mussels

Favourite activity: swimming through his tunnel and being big brother to the little hatchlings

Current weight: 3.5 kg

Pan

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Conservation status: Vulnerable

When Pan arrived at our turtle rehab, it was very much in the same way that all the other hatchlings do: cold, dehydrated and in need of love. He had been rescued in Struisbaai, 29 April 2019, through our rescue network and brought to the Aquarium weighing 49g. After being with us for a few months, this little turtle developed an ear infection, which improved once treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately however, once healed, this ear infection kept coming back, even after special surgery.

We do however have a plan. One can insert a small bead, containing antibiotics, into the ear bone, which can help fight the infection deeply from inside. We haven’t had much luck creating this bead in South Africa and are now looking overseas.

In the meantime, Pan is a happy member of our turtle rehab. He loves his little pool where he can swim through his tunnel, nap with his head up in the corner of the tank and eat yummy squid, pilchard and mussel! 

Pan is what we call a post-hatchling: 2-years old now, weighing 3,5 kg and really starting to develop the features of a proper grown up turtle. We love having him around but are looking forward to being able to complete his rehabilitation.

Litchi

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Conservation status: Endangered

On 22 February 2021, we received a 7 kg green turtle from De Hoop Nature reserve. It had been found by guests at one of the lodges in the reserve and was kindly, and quickly, driven through to us.

When Litchi arrived she was in very good body condition, showing no signs of dehydration, but had many marine leeches attached to her! There were small leeches in her nose and many larger leeches around her tail and back flippers. Added to this were many mats of leech eggs across her body.

A little bit of research revealed that there are only two species of marine leech that live on sea turtles, and that they are very easy to tell apart (Ozonbranchus branchiatus has 7 gills and Ozobranchus margoi has 5 gills). We were therefore able to identify that Litchi was acting as host to Ozobranchus margoi. Leeches suck the blood from turtles (which left Litchi quite anaemic), but they are also vectors for viruses, most commonly Fibropapilloma (herpes virus).

Thankfully though there is no indication that Litchi has this virus (it usually presents externally with the growth of tumours). 

Litchi has responded to her rehab process very well – she is swimming, passing faeces and eating well. She isn’t however out of the woods – like one of our released turtles Annie, Litchi swims with bubble butt. Her body also sits quite high off the ground and we are uncertain as to the root cause of this. We are treating her for worms, doing a contrast study, examining her poop and giving her space to have a really good fart!

Hopefully we will figure it out soon and give Litchi the opportunity heal really nicely and quickly!

Favourite food: Litchi quite likes a bit of a buffet, including squid, mussel, pilchard and prawn!

Favourite activity: Litchi loves a giving her tail lots of air and practising her handstands, she also enjoys resting on her blue tunnel.

Current weight: 7.3 kg

Hatchlings

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Conservation status: Vulnerable

 

Turtle hatchling season is in full swing, and we now have 43 little turtle patients in our care. The first few are ready for adoption. You can help us in their rehabilitation journey by adopting a hatchling, and you get to name them. Click below to see who is ready to be adopted.

The three hatchlings from 2020 still in our care are #35, #17 and #5. All three are turning into long-term patients. #35 will need more long-term care, due to a condition that causes severe asymmetry in the body. #5 and #17 both have softer than usual carapaces, which would make them vulnerable to predation in the ocean. Further testing and treatment is needed for our three yearlings, before we are confident to release them back into the ocean.

Adopted hatchlings

Forebearance (#3)

Adopted by: Mavric Webbstock

Myrtle (the turtle) (#4)

Adopted by: Cronje family

Bortus (#5)

Adopted by: Stefanie Pape

Crush (#6)

Adopted by: Peter Berndt

Leukocyte (#7)

Adopted by: Alana James (DKMS Africa) You can co-adopt me!

Photon (#8)

Adopted by: Winelands Radiology

Electron (#9)

Adopted by: Winelands Radiology

Frederik Willem Boudewijn Gerner II (#10)

Adopted by: Vanessa Marshall

Lucky (#11)

Adopted in memory of Marguot Voyatzoglou

Freedom 2 (#12)

Adopted by: Oceans Alive Conservation Trust

Eddie (#13)

Adopted by: Edgemead High

Kiara Big-Wow (#14)

Adopted by: Ceri Coxon and Howard Minnie

soFar (#15)

Adopted by: Alexandra Mamacos 

Donatello (#17)

Adopted by: Pecanwood College

Ariana (#20)

Adopted by: Ariana Sailing Team Ltd

Hun (#21)

Adopted by: Diane Klein

Uli (#22)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Ray (#25)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Lil’Zee@C (#26)

Co-parented by: Xavier Zylstra & Tinus Beukes

Zapp (#27)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Latte (#28)

Adopted by: Ann Lamont and Virtual Latte swimming club

TC (#29)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Poco Neil (#30)

Adopted by: Neil Gregory

Squirt (#33)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Rax (#34)

Adopted by: Siemens Healthineers

Ellie Blue (#35)

Adopted by: St. Cyprian’s School

Royal Cape (#36)

Adopted by: Royal Cape Yacht Club

Kethan (#37)

Adopted by: Andre Blaine

Kay (#38)

Adopted by: Kiara 

To be named (#41)

Adopted by: Jeannine

ElleG Warne (#44)

Adopted by: James Warne

Sammy’s Turtle (#45)

Adopted by: Lynette Finlay

Crush (#46)

Adopted by: Bianca Engel

You can co-adopt me!

Still to be named (#47)

Adopted by: Clement Blanc

Still to be named (#49)

Adopted by: Clement Blanc

Frodo Mageza Maharaj (#50)

Adopted by: Nisha Maharaj

Stardust (#51)

Adopted by: John Roos

Still to be named (#54)

Adopted by: Janine Hills

Still to be named (#57)

Adopted by: Heidi Carter

Goliath (#58)

Adopted by: Sean Power

Donatello (#5) from 2020

Adopted by: Don Hunter

Oceans Alive – Freedom 1 (#17) from 2020

Adopted by: Oceans Alive Conservation Trust

Kai Kumkani (#35) from 2020

Adopted by: Mike & Kai de Maine, and Jeanne & Kira Claassen