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Conservation

 

Turtle releases

 

 

Annie

Annie is a loggerhead turtle, found on Noordhoek Beach in Cape Town, entangled in a fishing net. She was rescued by the NSRI and taken to our turtle rehabilitation centre. After 1.5 years of rehabilitation, she was finally released back into the ocean 14 January 2021. She was fitted with a satellite tag, thanks to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. Follow Annie’s journey back in the ocean, as we observe with excitement to see where she swims next. You can also follow her (and another loggerhead called Luis) progress on our social media (@aquariumfoundation). Luis’ tracking device has since stopped working, but we have all the confidence that nothing serious has happened to him. 
Days since release: 145
 Kilometres journeyed: 6 382 km
7 June 2021

Annie is in Maputo Bay and enjoying the lovely, warm waters! 

The tracking data is not too accurate at the moment, but we will continue following her progress to see where she will go next. 

Will she head up north, further up the east coast of Africa? Or east, towards Mozambique. Or, will she follow in the flipper-steps of the iconic Yoshi, who swam more than 20 000 km, from South Africa to Australia. Only time will tell, and we hope that Annie’s satellite tag gives us plenty more months of data, so that we can keep following the journey of our favourite ‘Bubble Butt’ sea turtle. 

24 May 2021

Annie is in Mozambique

Annie’s internal GPS is working really well and she has found the best turtle areas along the Southern African coast. She is in a lovely warm 24’C water in the Mozambique channel about 224 km west of Maputo. She has already passed the St Lucia and Maputo land marine reserves and is now heading for the Maputo Special Reserve which is managed  by the Peace Parks Foundation.

We cleaned up her data a little bit and used 738 accurate transmissions to plot out 6382 km. This sounds a bit more realistic with an average of 50km per day, which is still a very fast pace for a sea turtle. She really seems to like hugging the Mozambique escarpment and we are sure it is because it offers a large variety of food. Who would have thought that our Annie Bubble Butt would swim to Mozambique in only 4 months.

She is swimming against a stiff wind at the moment, which is a great indication that she is feeling fit and strong.

The beaches along Maputo land and the Maputo Special Reserve are beautiful sea turtle nesting sites, so Annie is certainly heading towards the right area, even though nesting will only take place in summer at the end of the year. There are also lovely loggerhead feeding sites all around Madagascar, so she might continue to explore and eat along the beautiful East African coastline and Madagascar.

What a great survivor.

4 May 2021

Annie is such a smart swimmer, navigator and food finder and has travelled just over 9 000 km since her release on the 14th of January this year. That is an astonishing average of 83 km/day.

She is hugging that Mozambique escarpment popping up into the Mozambique plateau and then back down to the Natal basin, so she is clearly also showing some feeding behaviour and hugging the lovely warm Agulhas current and she is in a very lovely 23’C at the moment.

She is approximately 630 km SE of Durban, and it looks like she is heading towards Madagascar, a mere 1000 km away.

Annie was lying on a beach, cold, injured and ill and stuck in a ghost fishing net almost 2 years ago, and look at her now, exploring the great big blue. She has shown us that there is always hope.

16 April 2021

Annie (in green), our very favourite bubble butt, is not showing any signs of slowing down. She has already covered 8 064 km since their release in January 2021. They have been exploring, swimming, feeding, navigating and adventuring for 91 days already and Annie is clocking up an impressive average of 88 km/day. She definitely prefers the slightly warmer water and is sticking to the edge of the Agulhas reflection current and using this current and the strong wind to her advantage. She is well outside the South African EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) but has passed the Western Cape and Eastern Cape and is about 750km SE of Durban.

Annie is hugging the Mozambique escarpment, which is basically a steep underwater slope (drop off) from the underwater Mozambique Platue (yes, it is like amazing mountain ranges underwater). This is also an area of rich biodiversity and lots of food for Annie. If you move offshore from Durban you will first encounter the Tugela canyon, then the Natal valley and then the Mozambique platue. What an impressive ocean ‘landscape’.

There is about 44% cloud cover in the area Annie finds herself in with a rather big swell running, but she is clearly managing well with the environmental conditions.

Annie also featured in the most recent NSRI newsletter so she is not just following Yoshi’s track (possibly to Australia?) but also getting some good celebrity attention.

What an amazing feat for this special turtle who was lying on a beach, tangled up in a big fishing net almost 2 years ago.

8 April 2021

Annie is increasing her lead with regards to distance covered, and after cleaning up the data a bit and excluding the least accurate transmissions, her journey has covered 7102 km since their release 77 days ago. That is an astonishing 92 km per day. She is 580 km SE of East London and thus a long way offshore. It does look like she might be considering following Yoshi all the way to Australia too. She is not in the Agulhas current but definitely catching a bit of a ride on the outside Agulhas reflection in a very comfortable 21’C. She is a clever sea turtle, a true smart swimmer, with the bubble butt and all, using the currents to cover those daily distances.

23 March 2021

Annie (in green) crossed the Agulhas current and traveled offshore all the way to the Eastern Cape, after which she turned around and popped into that mighty conveyer belt of a current which brought her back down to the Agulhas bank and all the sea mounts. She has now turned east again and making her way back up on the outside of the warm Agulhas current. It really looks like our favourite ‘Bubble butt’ is enjoying this ride. Annie was rescued by the NSRI when she washed up on Noordhoek beach, stuck in a fishing net together with a seal. She was seriously ill and did not eat for five months but turned the corner in December 2019. Her buoyancy issues persisted though and after various tests and two CT scans, it was concluded that she was just a very gassy turtle. But look at her go now! A total of 5 517 km, and currently 670 km south of Cape Town in lovely 23°C water. It is also amazing to note that Annie’s tracks cross those of Pemba, the rehabilitated Olive Ridley turtle, and Noci, another loggerhead that recovered at our sea turtle rehabilitation facility.

5 March 2021

Annie (in green) is now back in the Agulhas current, on the outer margin of the Agulhas bank and thus moving towards Cape Town again. This is a really dynamic offshore area with high productivity and known as spawning grounds for many fish species. The Agulhas and Southern Benguela ecoregions meet here and thus creates this incredible biodiversity hotspot. The water is also at a lovely 24°C which we are sure Annie enjoys. She is hovering around the Davies Seamount, which is just to the right of the Shackleton Seamount complex, and about 240 km south of Plettenberg Bay. She has already traveled 4194 km since release, a very impressive 85.6 km/day on average.

19 February 2021

Annie (in green), our favourite bubble butt, is charging up the east coast on the outside of the warm Agulhas current, and she is definitely using the return current to help her with her average of 97 km/day. She is approximately 400 km south of Cape St Francis in a lovely 23°C.

She passed the Shackleton and Natal seamounts and seems to be heading to those nesting areas in Northern Kwazulu-Natal and Mozambique. Annie is only about 1 500 km from this area (straight line distance). Nesting season is mid-summer, so both these amazing turtles still have plenty of travel and explore time ahead before they might decide to breed.

8 February 2021

WOW – look at Annie (in green)! She has covered another 700 km over the last five days and pretty much crossed the Agulhas current. Sge is in the retroflection current now. We reckon she is keen to go check out Antarctica, but realistically we are expecting her to start making use of the Agulhas return current (it is definitely too cold for turtles in Antarctica). She is more than 500 km offshore. Absolutely amazing.

5 February 2021

Annie is on a mission, heading up the east coast right on the edge of the Agulhas current, which means she is in warm water of about 24°C. She had no trouble finding the Protea Seamount which is just off the SSW flank of the Agulhas continental shelf. A seamount is a submarine mountain, meaning a mountain under the ocean, which are generally extinct volcanoes. Seamounts are recognised as biological hotspots and supporting high productivity and biodiversity. The Protea Seamount is a known aggregation site for several migratory species such as sharks, tuna and turtles, so a great place for Annie to find food and friends.

She has just passed Brownes Bank, and important EBSA (Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area). She is heading towards the Shackleton and Mallory Seamounts, two dynamic offshore areas and spawning sites for sardines, anchovy and hake. Leatherback turtles frequently visit this area, 300 km directly south of Mosselbay.

Annie has travelled 2 139 km since her release 20 days ago, and this is incredibly impressive after a long and rather bumpy (and gassy) rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Her ‘bubble butt’ is clearly not keeping her from being the ultimate turtle traveller.

25 January 2021

Annie has found her bearings and seems to be heading for the Agulhas and Alphard banks – great feeding grounds and areas where loggerhead and green turtles are often seen. This is also en route up the east coast to Natal, where she potentially could be from.

She is currently a 114 km SW of the most southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas, and 117km SE of the release site. She has, however, covered an incredible 1 111km since release. Yes, that is 111km/day at 4.6km/hour average speed.

She is about 170km west of the Alphard and Agulhas Banks and if she stays just outside of the Agulhas current she could get there within a day or two at her current swimming speed.

It is just remarkable to see how strong she is. Well done to the incredible turtle rehab team for preparing her so well for life back in the ocean.

18 January 2021

Annie has travelled 350 km since her release and seems to be looking around to figure out which direction to go. She is about 100 km west of Cape Town, and transmitting well and doing great. The sea temperature is about 22’C – so a great place to be right now. Annie is cruising in an ocean eddy, moving in a clockwise direction which will speed up her swimming a bit, and with a slight wind from the south. The largest red circle denotes Annie’s location 18 January 2021.