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Turtle Rehabilitation in Cape Town

This weeks meeting topic was: The new Turtle ‘Challenge’ – establishment of a permanent Turtle Centre for turtle rehabilitation in Cape Town. Talitha is well-known to the RC Waterfront through the magnificent Turtle Mural that she designed for the Sea Point Rotary Playpark, facilitated by the Waterfront Rotaract Club. The Rotary Club of Waterfront had also built a meaningful relationship with the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation over the years, especially our relationship with Maryka Musson.

Challenges in Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation

Talitha shared that rescuing stranded sea turtles would not be possible without the help of many people and organisations along the Western Cape coastline – our Turtle Rescue Network. While the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation hosts world-class rehabilitation facilities, we cannot patrol every stretch of the coastline at all times. In reality, stranded turtles are found by people, just like you, on family beach outings, fishing trips, or morning runs. The Turtle Rescue Network provides information about permitted organisations and volunteers that are able to work with turtles, to get a rescued turtle of any size to the safety of the Turtle Conservation Centre.

She went on to inform us that there were seven species of Turtles in the world, five of those species nested along the coastline of South Africa, mostly to the North of KZN. More recently, with the incredible 3-day storms, baby turtles were washed up on our coastline in their hundreds, swept from 26 – 12 degree water temperature. Hundreds of baby turtles needed to be fed in limited facilities. They could not handle caring for this immense quantum of turtles without a new natal clinic. Volunteers streamed in to help, showcasing that we are a community that cares. These baby turtles need a great deal of care if they are to grow to 180 kilos.

The Importance of Community in Turtle Conservation

With the new Granger Bay development, a Turtle rehabilitation facility is to be built. In the interim, the Table Bay Hotel is helping, where anyone can go and visit and be inspired by the caring of the community. The pics below show how innovation has helped ensure that each turtle has its own safe monitored space. Finally, Yoshi, the famous Two Oceans Aquarium turtle, made the longest journey ever tracked via satellite tag sending out her final ping on 28 October 2020 from SW Australia.

Turtle rehabilitation at the Turtle Centre
The baby turtles were put into ice cream tubs to help with their rehabilitation. 

Future Plans: Turtle Rehabilitation Facility

The baby turtles were put into ice cream tubs to help with their rehabilitation. Below: Left – the size compared to a hand – Right being fed.

Talitha and her colleague Laura du Toit were sincerely thanked for attending and sharing this information on turtle rehabilitation with us.

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