Three turtles released during National Marine Week

Every year National Marine Week is celebrated during the second week of October. One of the highlights for uShaka Sea World staff this year was the release of three turtles, a hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and two green turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The reptiles were returned to the ocean after spending time in the rehabilitation facility and turtle exhibit at uShaka Sea World under the care of aquarists and animal health staff.

Kelly Brown and Jerry Ntombela release two of the three turtles at Sodwana Bay. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

Hawk, the hawksbill was was sent to Durban from Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre after stranding in Plettenberg Bay. The green turtles, Canellloni and Franki came from Cape waters where they were rescued by Two Oceans Aquarium staff and flown to uShaka. 

Canelloni, the larger of the two green turtles, was tagged with an external flipper tag provided by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife which will allow the recording of any possible sightings.      

After receiving a final health clearances from resident veterinarian Dr Francois Lampen, all three turtles were loaded into transportation crates and driven to Sodwana Bay where they were returned to the ocean.

“Sodwana Bay was chosen as a release site because it is located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is not only a Marine Protected Area (MPA) but a World Heritage site.

"There are numerous inshore and offshore reefs in the iSimangaliso MPA which provide ideal release sites for healthy, rehabilitated turtles as they have abundant foraging grounds with minimal human impact which is imperative for the turtles' wellbeing.

“Both green and hawksbill turtles along with three other species are often encountered within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and we are confident that they will adapt to their surroundings without any cause for concern,” said aquarium curator Simon Chater.

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