Scotty settles in the serenity of Sodwana Bay

Five months after somone tried to sell her to Crocworld Conservation Centre, Scotty, a young, female, green turtle (Chelonia mydas), was released into the sea near Sodwana Bay in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park by uShaka Sea World aquarist, Lindani Khwela.

Lindani Khwela releases Scotty at Sodwana Bay. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

Scotty (named after Scottburgh beach where she was found) was brought into uShaka Sea World in late October 2016 by an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officer after a member of the public was reportedly trying to sell her to the Crocworld Conservation Centre after finding the turtle stranded on the beach.

Being a local resident, the man knew how unusual it was to find a turtle on the beach on the lower South Coast but was unfortunately unaware of the laws that protect turtles. Crocworld staff contacted Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife who immediately drove the turtle through to Durban.

When she arrived at uShaka Sea World Scotty was found to be severely dehydrated and in such a pitiful condition that she was unable to lift her head or move on her own. Animal care staff immediately administered fluids and antibiotics and left her to rest quietly.

Thankfully, after a few weeks she started to improve and move about on her own. She also started to eat the seaweed we offered to her. Although she remained buoyant and initially struggled to dive, her progress was so remarkable it was decided to transfer her to a  larger pool where she could attempt and finally master the art of diving. 

Scotty is carefully placed in a transportation box by aquarist Rob Kyle for the long drive to Sodwana Bay. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

Over the next two months she made a full recovery and arrangements were made for her release. “I felt honoured to be chosen to travel up with the team to release Scotty as it was not only my first trip up the north coast, but a great privilege to be chosen to reintroduce Scotty into the ocean,” said Khwela.

“Although releasing Scotty took no more than a moment, it was a moment I will never forget. Being part of the team who had nursed her back to health for five months; to watch her dive beneath the waves and confidently navigate her way through the rock pools was unforgettable.” 

Even though green turtles do not usually nest along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, they are naturally found in inshore areas of tropical oceans throughout the world where they feed exclusively on seagrasses and algae. As a mature female Scotty will in all likehood nest on the same Indian Ocean island beach where she hatched.

We wish her a lifetime of wonderful ocean adventures.

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