Turtle releases




Luis is a loggerhead turtle, found off the coast of Hout Bay, in Cape Town, by the crew of the fishing vessel ‘Tuna Cat Cha’. He was transported to our turtle rehabilitation centre. After half a year of rehabilitation, he was finally released back into the ocean 14 January 2021. He was fitted with a satellite tag, thanks to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. Follow Luis’ journey back in the ocean. We have no idea where he might go, but we are excited to find out! You can also follow him (and another loggerhead called Annie) progress on our social media (@aquariumfoundation).
Days since release: 104
Kilometres journeyed: 7 487 km
24 May 2021

Luis’ tracker has officially stopped working. We do not think anything serious has happened to him, since he is a fully grown loggerheas turtle, with few predators in the ocean. Sometimes the trackers we put on our turtles give us weeks, other times they last for years. We wish you well Luis! 

4 May 2021

Luis is causing a bit of stress to us all at the moment as his transmitter has not sent through an update since Friday. We studied his positions and find no indication for concern other than that the tag might have malfunctioned. Luis covered 7 487 km in 104 days, so on average 71 km per day, which in sea turtle terms is really still incredible.

His last position placed him about 350 km West of Cape Town in 20’C water in the Agulhas rings. We have our eyes glued to the screen and hope that his tag will start transmitting again. Luis is a beautiful mature male loggerhead sea turtle and was found floating off Hout bay almost a year ago. He had a rather nasty wound to his shell and our lunchbox sealer worked so well keeping the wound clean and dry to heal. It is not often that adult male sea turtles get tagged, so we collaborated with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to learn more about his travels. The first 104 days showed that he enjoyed hanging out offshore and that he quite enjoyed making use of the circular currents off Cape Town. Some of our released turtles transmitted for almost 3 years (the famous Yoshi with her 40 000km) and some only a few weeks (such as uShaka’s Herbie who was spotted with a tag without the aerial not long after), so we never quite know how much data we will get.

16 April 2021

Luis (in red) is exactly 1 990km west of Annie and showing off his strength after his recovery with us by swimming against the current and a rather strong wind. Yoshi used to mostly choose to swim up current as well, so not unusual for these large sea turtles. He still loves exploring those Agulhas rings off Cape Town and is currently about 314 km west of their release site, even though he has already traveled 6 373 km since release at an impressive average of 70km/day. He can basically swim back to Hout bay where he was found in less than 5 days (but it is clear that he is having a great time back in the big blue).

Luis did a big circle around the Engelbrecht Seamount which is certainly an area that would offer good food. He is in 21’C water and we love how he is on his own mission.

8 April 2021

Luis (in red)  is cruising around on his own steam and finding himself between the Agulhas rings exploring the Atlantic ocean about 350 km WSW of Cape Town. He has now covered 5448 km since their January release and his average daily distance covered is still a remarkable 73 km. He has now completed two giant circles and we are wondering what he will be doing next. He is in a very nice and temperate 20’C.

23 March 2021

Luis (in red), the male loggerhead sea turtle that was rescued off Hout Bay after being found floating around, has covered 5 240 km since release and his tracks are crossing those of Pemba, Noci, Yoshi and the little green turtle Alvi’s. It certainly seems as if there are turtle routes out in the ocean. Luis is currently about 530 km SW of Cape Town in a very mild 19°C water.

5 March 2021

Luis (in red) also headed back towards Cape Town while enjoying the ‘ride’ in one of those big Agulhas rings (also referred to as Cape Cauldrons). He is 355 km west of Cape Town and 297 km west of the release site. Luis is sending about 10 – 12 transmissions a day and has covered an incredible 4556 km since release, 93 km/day on average. He is in a lovely 22°C and clearly loving his time back in the ocean.

19 February 2021

Luis (in red) has decided to venture west, and is now on the outskirts of those amazing Cape cauldron currents, while Annie, the female, decided to go east. Luis has covered a total of 3 012 km since his release, which is a very impressive average of 84km/day. He is currently 330 km west of Lutzville in a lovely temperate 21°C.

He could be heading towards the nesting populations at Cape Verde, which is 3 600 km north of him (straight line distance). Luis likes to explore, so it will take him quite a long time before he reaches this location, but what an amazing journey it would be.

8 February 2021

Luis (in red) is about 250 km WSW of Saldanha Bay and has covered almost 400 km since our last report. He is still making great use of the Agulhas rings and has moved quite a bit further out. He might very well decide to head in a specific direction fairly soon. So exciting!

5 February 2021

Luis is cruising, and in roaming and adventure mode. He is 114 km west of Cape Town, but has explored right up to Saldanha Bay. It is amazing to see the different oceanic movements between Luis (a mature male loggerhead) and Annie (a mature female loggerhead), even though they have practically covered the same distance. Luis has raked up a solid 2 160 km. That is a very impressive 108 km per day over the last 20 days. He seems to be enjoying the circular currents and temperate 21°C water, and I am very excited to see whether he will make a choice and head east, west or possibly even south.

25 January 2021

Luis is covering a lot of distance and seems to still be enjoying his time in that nice warm fast flowing eddy about 120 km west of Kommetjie. He has now covered 1 207km! He is certainly a smart swimmer, and making use of the currents, and has clocked up a turtle Olympic speed of 5km/hour, which is 120 km/day on average. This is the fastest turtle we have ever tracked.

Luis is about 132 km SW of the Two Oceans Aquarium and we are excitedly waiting to see which direction he will eventually choose to go.

18 January 2021

Luis is cruising in an ocean eddy, moving in a clockwise direction which will speed up their swimming a bit, and with a slight wind from the south. The sea temperature is about 22’C – a lovely temperature for a turtle. Luis has clocked up about 320 km (from release site). He is about 166 km west of Cape Town.