72 loggerhead turtle hatchlings admitted at uShaka Sea World

Turtle hatchling no 171. Picture: Saambr

Turtle hatchling no 171. Picture: Saambr

Published Apr 22, 2024


Durban — A bale of loggerhead turtle hatchlings was admitted at uShaka Sea World earlier this week.

On Monday afternoon, the uShaka Sea World Turtle Rehabilitation team admitted 72 loggerhead turtle hatchlings.

The hatchlings were part of 304 turtles admitted into the care of staff at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation after being found stranded on various Cape beaches following the stormy weather conditions.

South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) spokesperson Ann Kunz explained that as the Two Oceans Turtle Rehabilitation facility was at capacity, they reached out to uShaka Sea World to admit and care for 72 of the 304 little hatchlings.

Kunz further explained that getting ready to receive so many turtle hatchlings all at once on such short notice was no easy feat.

Nineteen appropriately sized pools needed to be prepared, some of the stronger patients had to be relocated to create space, bespoke heaters and appropriate lighting needed to be sourced and put in place, while at the same time caring for the other animals in quarantine, Kunz said.

Quarantine aquarist Kerry Lavender evaluating hatchling no 89. Picture: Saambr

She said that after the turtle hatchlings were given a health clearance to fly, the Two Oceans Aquarium staff carefully and safely placed the 72 hatchlings into specially padded holding containers before they were loaded onto an aeroplane heading for Durban.

“Upon arrival at uShaka Sea World, each turtle was evaluated by the resident veterinarian and members of the Turtle Rehabilitation Team before being numbered and placed into holding pools. The evaluation included a body condition score, hydration status checks and buoyancy tests to make sure the turtles were able to swim,” Kunz said.

UShaka Sea World lead aquarist – Quarantine & Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Malini Pather said: “The hatchlings have been with us for five days now, and we are happy to report that although it is still very early in their rehabilitation journey, a number of them are already looking much stronger. At this stage, it is still too early to say when they will be healthy enough for release.”

Reacting to Saambr’s Facebook post about the turtles, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation said: “Thank you so much for opening your doors to these precious patients!”

Kunz added that although some of the turtles’ numbers are much higher than 72, they only received 72 turtles.

“All the hatchlings were given initial numbers by the staff at Two Oceans Aquarium when they arrived at Two Oceans and we have used the same numbers so that we have a record of their rehabilitation progress from the time they were picked up off the beach.”

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