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Endangered hawksbill turtle admitted at uShaka Sea World is still fighting to regain her strength

The turtle named Dhiya was admitted on December 19, 2021. Picture: uShaka Sea World

The turtle named Dhiya was admitted on December 19, 2021. Picture: uShaka Sea World

Published Jan 4, 2022

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DURBAN - The Hawksbill sea turtle that was admitted to uShaka Sea World in the middle of December 2021 is fighting to regain her strength.

Hawksbill turtles are currently classified as endangered.

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The turtle named Dhiya was admitted to uShaka Sea World on December 19, 2021.

Ann Kunz of uShaka Sea World said Dhiya was washed ashore at Bhanga Nek, a remote area on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

Dhiya was transported from Bhanga Nek to Hluhluwe by an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff member, who then handed her over to members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). The NSRI team then drove the turtle a distance of more than 500km from Hluhluwe to Durban.

Kunz said uShaka Sea World staff were prepared for Dhiya’s arrival and had been warned that her condition was poor.

“She appeared emaciated and understandably lethargic. She was named Dhiya, which is of Hindu origin, signifying light, goodness and purity,” Kunz said.

“Dhiya was given fluids and left to rest in a shallow bath. She remained almost motionless for the next few days and hardly stirred whilst the team took blood samples, performed x-rays and administered fluids.”

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Kunz said over the last two weeks, although Dhiya had not regained her strength, she has not deteriorated, which was a good sign. She was clearly a fighter.

Her radiographs indicated that she had been feeding, and her blood showed good glucose levels and was therefore not starving. She was put on a course of antibiotics which we hope will help her recover.

uShaka Sea World senior aquarist Malini Pather said: “We are very grateful to the staff from both Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the NSRI for their continued dedication to caring for stranded marine animals and for giving Dhiya the best possible chance of recovery. Although any prediction regarding her survival is guarded, we are continuing to do whatever we can to give her a second chance and trust that she has the capacity to recover.”

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