by Tasmyn Taylor
Did you know that there are 5 different species of Turtle that occupy South Africa’s waters? Neither did I until Two Oceans was kind enough to make a stop in Witsand and take the time to present a talk to the Conservancy and members of the public on what to do when they find a turtle hatchling. Luckily they did, because soon after, there were various reports of hatchlings to be found on the beach and two were brought in to the LBRCT offices. Meet Nina (picture below).
Nina is a Loggerhead Turtle hatchling that washed up on the beach near Blokke in Witsand. She was found on the beach, thought to be dead, until two good Samaritans, Charlie Luis and Nicolene van Zyl picked her up and realized she was alive. LBRCT arranged for Nina to be taken to Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town where she is receiving all the love and care in the world to grow big enough to be released back into the wild. She will remain at Two Oceans being cared for and fed for the next 9 – 12 months. As you can see in the before picture, Nina was given to us covered in parasites called Goose Barnacles. Goose Barnacles attach to floating objects by a long and tough, fleshy stalk. They occur in dense colonies on ships or floating objects. They attached to Nina because hatchlings float in the water, using the different currents to travel the seas.
On Sunday, 29th April the LBRCT was called out to a turtle stranded on the beach near the NSRI station. To our surprise, it was a lot bigger than we anticipated... but WHAT and experience! Meet Mark. Mark is a Loggerhead Turtle that measured just over a meter long and weighed 70 KG. Loggerheads can weigh up to 150 KG and live to be 60 years old. For reasons still unknown, he washed up. The LBRCT, with assistance from the rescuers, Sharon and family, along with the NSRI loaded him onto the bakkie and off to Two Oceans he went!
He is safely recovering thanks to all our efforts. We would also like to thank Mr Gary Taylor for the fuel sponsorship to get Mark to Two Oceans. It was greatly appreciated. Nina and Mark are both a part of Witsand’s success stories that are worth reading about and spreading the news. Thank you, Charlie and Nicolene for helping Nina, Sharon, Mark, NSRI and Gary for helping Mark. Because of this, they are now both able to contribute to the struggling turtle numbers.
Save a life because every life counts.