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Turtle Road Trip 2022: Journey with a purpose!
By:

Martine Viljoen & Tracy Whitehead

Martine is a Sea Turtle Aquarist at the Aquarium Foundation, forming part of the sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release team, and the embedded social media coordinator, telling conservation and education stories through imagery and video.

Tracy is the Turtle Rescue Network Coordinator, the volunteer who personally oversees every sea turtle rescue – taking calls on the Rescue Hotline, connecting the public with partner organisations, and arranging transport for the rescued sea turtles.

This year’s Turtle Road Trip was different from past ones, as the team of the Turtle Rescue Programme used the opportunity to conduct in-depth field training with the people and organisations working on the ground monitoring and patrolling our coastline – we might be the people that rehabilitate turtles, but the men and women patrolling the hundreds of kilometers of coastline are the first line in saving a turtle’s life.

So while still very much educational and awareness focussed, this Turtle Road Trip had a specifically targeted approach for training and sharing of resources. We would like to thank our major sponsor Consol Glass for making this year’s Road Trip possible!

We are exceptionally proud of our new Turtle In Transit rescue boxes sponsored by UVP Veltopak!  With hatchling stranding season upon us these rescue boxes have been distributed to our Rescue Network points during our current Turtle Road Trip.

They include vital details and graphics on: What to go if you find a sea turtle and What to do when transporting a turtle. With blank spaces to write valuable information specific to each hatchling in transit: where rescued, rescuers details and the hatchlings number (allocated by our Turtle Team) for ease of records on admission once arrived at Two Oceans Aquarium.

The coastal Turtle Rescue Network is crucial for being able to rescue any turtles stranded along our coastline. Visiting areas along the coast is vital for sharing knowledge and raising awareness ahead of our hatchling stranding season (March-July) each year.

Our team spent the Road Trip focused on activating the public for the upcoming hatchling stranding season, training rangers in first response and additionally sharing resources and equipment with our rescue network points. This also enables us to see how we can help and support each specific area in return, aiding towards expanding our network with eventual plans being to cover the entire coastline.

We are thankful for the amazing support of Consol Glass; striving to raise awareness on the plastic pollution problem our oceans are facing, while also sponsoring our Turtle Road Trip making this ranger training possible!

TURTLE RESCUE NETWORK POINTS

During our Turtle Road Trip 2022 we focused on Field Training Workshops, meeting up with individuals from our network in various centralised locations.

These workshops were held in: Wilderness (covering Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Buffelsbaai and Sedgefield area), Mossel Bay, Vleesbaai, Stilbaai, Witsand and Infanta, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Arniston, De Mond, Struisbaai and Agulhus.

Awareness materials were dropped off along the way or distributed through these Network Points. A huge thank you to Consol Glass for their incredible sponsorship making these awareness posters possible.

Future workshops have also been arranged in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Walker Bay and areas closer to Cape Town that have shown to be hugely valuable Network Points for us.

HOW CAN YOU RESCUE A TURTLE?

Find out what to do if you find a turtle hatchling:

  • Don’t put the turtle back into the water, as it may drown
  • Put the turtle in your rescue tub or box with dry towel
  • Keep out of direct sunlight & wind

Contact out Turtle Rescue Hotline 083 300 1663 OR take it to the nearest Network Point. Thank you for being a turtle rescuer!

We would like to thank everyone involved in this programme – we don’t know how many stranded sea turtles this year’s season will bring, but the rescue of each and every one of them begins with you! Thank you to all of our partners in conservation!

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