The Campbell family from Polokwane, on holiday in Somerset West, Cape Town, found a baby Loggerhead Turtle along the Gordon’s Bay beachfront perched high and dry on rocks, lethargic and appearing to be barely alive.
Unsure what to do with the turtle, which appeared to be unwilling to get back into the cold water, they found the recent Loggerhead turtle rescue in Struisbaai on the web and contacted NSRI Agulhas for advice.
NSRI Agulhas put the Campbell family in touch with NSRI Headquarters and NSRI requested if it was at all possible for the Campbell family to get the turtle to the Two Oceans Aquarium, at the V&A Waterfront, who are overseeing the rehabilitation of baby Loggerhead turtles found washed up along the Cape Coast predominantly in Struisbaai.
The Two Oceans Aquarium were placed on alert.
The whole family, James Campbell, his wife Tarryn, their two children, Kylie and Jade, aged 7 and 5, and granny Tammy, loaded the turtle, who the kids named Rosie, into their car and in a rescue mercy dash drove the turtle from Gordon’s Bay to the V&A Waterfront where Two Oceans Aquarium staff, alerted to the efforts being made, were on hand to meet them. “Rosie” was put into the rehabilitation tank along with the 178 other Loggerhead turtles currently in their care and by Sunday morning Two Oceans Aquarium staff confirmed that “Rosie” was doing well and appearing to be strong and healthy much to the delight of the Campbell’s.
James has told the NSRI that they are staying on a long weekend holiday in Somerset West. After lunch at the Spur they headed to the coast at Gordon’s Bay to play in the rock pools where daughter Tammy found the little turtle perched on rocks and looking barely alive.
Advice from locals suggested that they seek help at Gordons Bay harbour but not finding anyone there that could help them Kylie and Jade, who were by that stage cradling the turtle in their arms and had named it Rosie, were insistent that the little turtle would not be abandoned. “We need to get it to a turtle doctor” they said.
James turned to Google and came across the recent turtle rescue effort in Struisbaai and managed to reach NSRI Agulhas by phone which sparked the whole rescue mission.
NSRI have commended the Campbell’s for their effort.
It appears that “Rosie”, of all the Loggerhead turtles found along the Cape Coast, is to date the only one found furthest South. Most of the Loggerhead turtles were rounded up in the Struisbaai area and kept in an improvised rehabilitation tank at NSRI Agulhas sea rescue base under the supervision of Two Oceans Aquarium staff, NSRI Agulhas volunteers, Cape Nature rangers and Overberg Disaster Risk Management. They were later transported to a rehabilitation tank at Two Oceans Aquarium. So far, including “Rosie”, there are 179 Loggerhead turtle survivors being rehabilitated.
The Loggerhead turtles hatch in Kwa-Zulu Natal and swim out to catch the warm water South bound Agulhas currents which carry them South until about off-shore of Agulhas where the currents turn and head Northwards again, normally carrying the turtles back to their home warm waters off-shore of Kwa-Zulu Natal. It appears that climatic conditions of sorts, and stormy weather, caused these Loggerhead turtles to be swept out of the Agulhas current; but not liking the Cape’s colder waters they headed ashore where sadly some died but others were collected along the shore and brought to NSRI Agulhas where rehabilitation efforts began.
While this is an annual event at around this time of the year it is unusual for so many to come ashore and this year has been described by Two Oceans Aquarium as the most that they have ever had to rehabilitate.
According to the Two Oceans Aquarium when climate, currents and conditions are favourable the rehabilitated Loggerhead turtles will be flown to KZN and released off of uShaka.
The many public members who found and handed in Loggerhead turtles can make enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org and a web page has been set up giving advice to people on what to do when finding these baby turtles washed up on the Capes shores:
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew