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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 again soon. #SwimmingForBob

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.

Mfusa

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Conservation status: Endangered

Mfusa is a real war veteran. Arriving alongside Roo (though having stranded in Sedgefield) 22 October 2020, Mfusa weighed 9,2 kg. He had wounds everywhere. All over his face, around his shell, on his plastron- he had truly been through the wars. One of the forms of treatment for all these wounds is a purple antibiotic spray. We have been using this generously on all of Mfusa’s wounds, which make him look like a purple (Mfusa in isiXhosa) turtle!

Mfusa also had some funny mottling in his gut and we were uncertain as to the cause of this. We have been doing a barium study to track what this is (barium is a benign contrast agent that shows up clearly on x-ray). So far we have seen his gut working nicely and are hopeful that it will continue to do so. Mfusa likes to keep to himself. He still has a lot of healing to do, but he also seems like a bit of an old soul. He LOVES a nap (even on the arm of our intern whilst getting treatment!) and the regularity of daily meals, but he isn’t so keen on moving too much or living up the social life.

What a fighter and trooper our dear little purple turtle is! 

Mfusa should be well enough to be released back into the ocean by the end of March 2021.

Favourite food: no firm favourite yet

Favourite activity: solitude, naps and regular meals

Current weight: 9.2 kg

Favourite food: undecided

Favourite activity: breaking records!

Current weight: 5 kg

Arnie

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Conservation status: Endangered

Arnie is a record breaker!

This little three-flippered turtle arrived 6 November 2020, weighing 5 kg. From day one, Arnie gave us a run for our money (how many people does it take to hold a turtle while they get injections? If the turtle in question is Arnie, the answer is many!). Arnie had been rescued in Arniston, but had a sleep over in Hermanus before being ubered down to Cape Town.

Aside from being covered in sand and with some small injuries on his head, this three-flippered little turtle was in very good shape. What a miracle and what a strong turtle! 

Deciding that he was going to be a record breaker from the minute he arrived,  Arnie started eating only a few hours after arriving (it often takes weeks for this to happen). He has been enjoying space to dive and sunlight on his shell, but is at this point undecided on whether or not he likes sea lettuce.

We are blown away by this capable little turtle! Go Arnie go!

Arnie, and his buddy Mfusa, should be well enough to be released back into the ocean by the end of March 2021.

Hatchlings

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Conservation status: Vulnerable

 

There are currently five hatchlings in our care, as 19 were released back into the ocean 14 January 2021. They arrived at our rehabilitation centre between March and November 2020, which is the period when most are found along our south coast, stranded and hypothermic. Below some images of our little patients, and short biographies on the lucky ones that have been adopted.

The five hatchlings still in our care are #35, #32, #17, #5 and #34. All have varying degrees of medical issues, with the last three hopefully fit for release in a few months. #35 and #32 will need more long-term care, due to a condition that causes severe asymmetry in the body.

To donate toward our conservation programmes, visit our donation page

Donatello (#5)

Donatello has had a rough last few months, with a serious case of metabolic bone disease. He spent three months in our turtle ICU, with serious symptoms like flaky skin and the inability to dive. He is much better now, much to everyone’s relief. Donatello was found 1 March, in Struisbaai. 

Arrival weight: 44g

Current weight: g

Adopted by: Don Hunter

Kai Kumkani (#35)

Kai Kumkani was found in Gansbaai, 1 November 2020. He was the last hatchling to arrive in 2020. He came in with a severe asymmetry on the right side of his body. Kai was driven to Cape Town by Mike de Maine and his son Kai. He is a lucky turtle, with twin sisters Jeanne and Kira as co-parents.

Arrival weight: 533g

Current weight: 815g

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

Sir-Count-A-Lot (#32)

Sir-Count-A-Lot was found in Hermanus in June 2020. Through the collaboration of five different people, including Leandra who found him, he made it to our rehab centre. He showed immediate improvement, but only recently started developing asymmetry in his body, which he will need further treatment for. 

Arrival weight: 141.78g

Current weight: 689g

Adopted by: Iridium Business Solutions

Oceans Alive – Freedom 1 (#17)

Freedom 1, adopted by Oceans Alive, was the 17th hathcling to arrive in our rehab facility in 2020. She was found 4 March in Struisbaai, and was tiny, measuring only 5.4cm long. She came in strong and has not had any major health issues. She is almost ready for release.

Arrival weight: 20g

Current weight: 1,272kg

Adopted by: Oceans Alive Conservation Trust

Stella (#34)

Little Stella arrived at our rehab centre 12 September 2020. She had no major health issues, but was a little on the small side for her age. This is why she has not been released yet, so that she can grow a little more. Stella is one of our small, but mighty turtles and we cannot wait for her to return to the ocean. 

Arrival weight: 65g

Current weight: 315g

Adopted by: Kelli Whitehead

All of these lucky hatchlings were released back into the ocean 14 January 2021. 

Bonnie (#22)

Bonnie was rescued in Struisbaai, by the NSRI, 18 March 2020. A boisterous and active turtle, Bonnie learned the ropes of the turtle rehabilitation centre quickly. Bonnie is big brother to Bio (#26). Bonnie was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 48,8g

Current weight: 860g

Adopted by: Bonnie Bio

Bio (#26)

Bio was rescued in Sedgefield, 20 March 2020. Quite scared when he arrived, Bio tried to avoid the other, bigger hatchlings by hiding in the corner. But Bonnie, #22, decided to adopt Bio as his little brother and the two are now inseparable. Bio was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 22g

Current weight: 390g

Adopted by: Bonnie Bio

Charly (#23)

Charly was found in Struisbaai on the same day as Bonnie. She is a bright and active turtle, with a special sunbeam on her face. Poor Charly pooped out three pieces of plastic: polystyrene, a nurdle, and a sharp blue piece of plastic. Charly was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 29g

Current weight: 442g

Adopted by: Earth & Co.

Tap-Tap (#29)

Tap-Tap was found in Struisbaai, 2 April, with some baggage – worms and barnacles. After a good clean and deworming, she has been living her best life with us. Tap-Tap was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 43g

Current weight: 905g

Partially adopted by: Nichole Soboil and Daniel Bunkell 

Kevin Landi (#12)

Kevin hails from Struisbaai, where he was found 3 March by turtle rescue hero Antoinette. He had a headful of goos barnacles weighing him down, but quickly recovered and settled into rehab life. Kevin Landi was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 42g

Current weight: 1000g

Adopted by: Just a Small Piece  and Landi tu Toit

George (#33)

George was the only loggerhead hatchling found on Muizenberg Beach this year, during the COVID-19 lockdown period. He was busy checking out the sharks and surf, but was not feeling too well. His/her adopters feel that this turtle is “gorgeous, gregariously, graceful, go-getter George!”. George was released 14 January 2021.

Arrival weight: 60g

Current weight: 216g

Adopted by: Gita Carroll, social impact specialist and kindness curator from The Good Machine and Aquarium Foundation Trustee, author and underwater photographer Lynton Burger.