DURBAN - The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) was unable to experience the joy of releasing a rehabilitated adult Indian yellow-nosed albatross after the bird died a day after admission.
The Indian yellow-nosed albatross was admitted at Saambr on Thursday, but it died Friday afternoon.
Albert had been spotted on the main beach at Southbroom, south coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
Saambr said although they did not know whether the bird was male or female, they referred to him as a male and called him Albert.
“He presented very lethargic, and this was a cause for concern. He did not have any fractures nor external injuries, and his radiographs identified no internal fishing hooks. It was possible that he could have been exhausted after being windblown out at sea,” Saambr said.
“We administered fluids, fish gruel and left him to rest for the night. Unfortunately, this morning, he continued to appear lethargic and did not seem to recover despite our efforts. He passed away peacefully.”
Saambr said Albert was initially taken to a local veterinarian, Dr Leon Bruggeman, at the Margate Veterinary Hospital, who did a preliminary health assessment. He did radiographs to see if there were any fishing hooks or other foreign bodies present. The bird was, thereafter, transported to uShaka Sea World by the Spca Lower South.
The association said Indian yellow-nosed albatross were fairly common off southern Africa year-round and ventures further north in winter. It is the most common albatross species off KZN.
“Unless they are in trouble, they are not usually encountered on our beaches. This particularly magnificent bird was without doubt in trouble and in need of a helping hand,” Saambr said.
Meanwhile, at the end of October, uShaka Sea World turtle rehabilitation staff released two sub-adult green turtles, Loki and Thor, to the ocean at Mission Rocks, which is within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. It was chosen as the ideal site as it falls within a Marine Protected Area.
Isimangaliso Wetland Park executive manager: tourism and business development Jabulani Ngubane said: “Green turtles are one of the five species of turtles that find refuge in iSimangaliso’s protected coastline. The turtles of iSimangaliso have received significant conservation attention producing a noteworthy increase in the turtle population.
“The challenge for the iSimangaliso Authority, as site managers, is that once turtles leave the Park’s shores and swim across the high seas, they become vulnerable to various threats including long-line fishing methods and pollution. We are grateful to Saambr’s selfless dedication to caring for these vulnerable species.”
Loki was positively buoyant and lethargic on arrival. Initial radiographs showed some cause for concern with regard to his lung tissue. He responded to treatment, and his recent diagnostics were all clear.
Thor was positively buoyant. He did not start diving shortly after his arrival. He was unable to maintain neutral buoyancy and therefore needed to remain in the hospital under medical care.
Both turtles were given the all-clear for release.
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