Attempted rescue of over 500 Baby Sea Turtles in South Africa

A powerful storm recently washed over 500 baby sea turtles onto South African beaches, overwhelming the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. The aquarium, currently rehabilitating around 400 of these endangered loggerhead turtles, has been stretched beyond its normal capacity of 150. The rest have been sent to other facilities.

These turtles typically hatch on South Africa’s northeast coast and are carried by the Indian Ocean Agulhas Current around the country’s tip. While it’s common for some to end up near Cape Town, the recent storm has resulted in an unprecedented number needing rescue.

Talitha Noble-Trull, head of the Turtle Conservation Center, highlighted the unexpected influx, noting that the center usually handles up to 100 turtles after hatching season. The cost to rehabilitate each turtle is estimated at $500, and many turtles are suffering from injuries, malnutrition, or infections. Volunteers have joined the full-time staff to assist with their care.

The storm also revealed a significant issue with plastic pollution. Many rescued turtles had ingested plastic, which they expelled upon arrival at the aquarium. This plastic contamination underscores the turtles’ role as “ocean indicators,” highlighting the urgent need to address ocean pollution. Noble-Trull emphasized the turtles’ plight as a stark message about the deteriorating state of ocean health.

Photo: (c) Farías


Author: Sylvia Jacobs

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