The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation has called on the public to assist with the rescue of sea turtle hatchlings that are washing up on Western Cape beaches.
In a statement, the foundation said this is an annual occurrence as loggerhead sea turtles hatch on the beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal and are then carried south by the Agulhas current. Due to injury, dehydration and hypothermia, some of these hatchlings unfortunately wash up on the beaches around the Western Cape.
A large number of hatchlings have already been brought to the Two Oceans Aquarium this year from as far as Plettenberg Bay and as close as Muizenberg.
Nearly all of the sea turtles brought to the aquarium for rehabilitation are rescued by caring members of the public.
The foundation called on all beachgoers to be vigilant, and to keep their eyes open for these tiny turtles.
What to do when you find a sea turtle on a Western Cape beach:
- Do not put the sea turtle back in the water;
- Find your nearest Turtle Rescue Network Point on the foundation’s website at aquariumfoundation.org.za, and call the sea turtle rescue hotline on 083 300 1663;
- Place the sea turtle in a dry container with air holes and a dry towel;
- Keep the sea turtle at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and wind;
- Get to the Turtle Rescue Network Point as quickly as possible and follow the instructions as provided by the hotline.
Choosing to use less plastic in your everyday life can make a big difference to sea turtles as the majority of those brought in to be rehabilitated by the aquarium foundation are found to have ingested plastic. And for many, this is a death sentence.
You can also donate towards the rehabilitation of a sea turtle by visiting the aquarium foundation’s website.
It costs R5000 to rehabilitate one hatchling sea turtle, but any amount is welcomed as it will contribute to the rescue, rehabilitation and release work that the foundation does.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit aquariumfoundation.org.za