Cape Town - World Oceans Day was celebrated at the Two Oceans Aquarium with a visit to their turtle rehabilitation programme.
Conservation manager Tilitha Noble said the turtles in rehabilitation were all found stranded along the coastline by their rescue net of 500 individuals.
“When the hatchlings first come in, they fit in the palm of your hand and they often come in extremely dehydrated and injured but with some love, care, food and medical attention, they often recover really well,” said Noble.
Noble said the turtles first entered their ICU for two weeks after being rescued. From there, they go on to the general ward hospital area where they get food regularly and whatever medical attention they need, over the course of six to nine months, they grow until they are healthy enough to be released back into the ocean.
“We work towards offering them the best rehabilitative care possible so that we can release them back into the wild for them to contribute towards their population size. One of the huge problems we’ve seen is the passing of microplastics, with 42 out of 60 turtles this year having microplastics ingested.
Two Oceans media and communications executive Renee Leeuwner said a special turtle named Bob had been within the rehabilitation programme since 2014 when he was badly ill and injured.
“Once Bob had retained some of his bodily functions with the rehabilitation, he pooped out a bunch of plastic including plastic bags, plastic bits, balloons and string that actually caused some neurological issues, which was why he has been with us so long. Luckily Bob is doing much better and getting ready to be released back into the ocean soon,” said Leeuwner.
V&A Waterfront chief executive David Green said: “The ocean is front and centre of almost everything we do, so we have a dual responsibility to protect the ocean from harm, while still unlocking the economic opportunities it presents.”