The Two Oceans Aquarium’s loggerhead turtle, Yoshi, who has been released back into the wild, has clocked up a solid 32 000 kilometres.
Yoshi has been back in the ocean since December 16, 2017 and has covered an average of 46km a day for 694 days consecutively.
The giant turtle which used to be housed in the I&J predators tank, was arguably the most loved and famous sea animal at the aquarium, and had been dubbed the Queen of the Aquarium by the staff (“Yoshi to be set free”, CapeTowner, October 26, 2017).
She has just crossed the Ninety East Ridge, which is the mid-ocean ridge on the Indian Ocean floor dividing the Indian Ocean into the West and East Indian Ocean. This ridge is a great location for Yoshi to feed.
Yoshi is about 2 300km west of Australia, and 2 200km south-west of Christmas Island, a rather far-flung Australian outpost and nicknamed the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” due to it being famous for its rich biodiversity in marine life and seabirds.
Sir David Attenborough described the annual crab migration on this island as one of the most spectacular wonders of the world.
Sixty million red land crabs make their way down to the coast to spawn during this migration. Christmas Island is also known for being home to the largest land crab, the robber crab – which is up to a meter wide and can live for a 100 years.
Aquarium spokesperson Renee Leuwner said Yoshi’s straight line distance from Cape Town is 6 900km at the moment.
“She finds herself in 22°C water temperature with quite a bit of a headwind blowing from the east. Yoshi’s tag is just brilliant and has sent us 19 454 messages with 4 457 satellite passes. We still do not know whether she will head towards the nesting sites in Australia, or perhaps head up to Sri Lanka or, potentially, keep navigating all the way to Japan.”
Yoshi was 24 to 26 years old at the time of her release, and aquarium curator, Maryke Musson said due to new behaviour that she was exhibiting, the curatorial team decided that it was time for Yoshi to be released.