By: Malini Pather
Over the past week we have received four Green turtles of varying sizes.
The first of the four was Stella, a female adult Green turtle. Stella was found floating upside down in a rock pool at Zinkwazi last Thursday. The Search and Rescue Unit kindly drove her to uShaka Sea World. Although we found no irregularities with her bloods or radiographs, she was positively buoyant and unable to dive. Thankfully she has settled down, is feeding and we are cautiously optimistic that she will fully recover. It is common for Green turtles to enjoy having their carapace brushed and Stella is no exception.
The second turtle to arrive was a sub adult Green turtle also from Zinkwazi. Unfortunately her prognosis on admission was poor and she succumbed to her illness the next day. We did a full necropsy and are awaiting the final results
The third was a tiny Green turtle that we named Shelley who was found battling in the surf at Umhlanga Beach. We estimate her to be about 2 months which means she is quite far off her natural course. She has had a tough journey so far as three of her flippers have been bitten. Two of them (the hind ones) are still in relatively good condition but the right front flipper is badly damaged and a portion of the bone is missing.
We are still concerned about the possibility of an infection to the exposed joint and unsure whether she will require surgery. In the meantime we are doing our best to get her strong and healthy. Thankfully turtles are able to cope well in the wild with amputated limbs.
“Shelley is still far too little to determine whether she is male or female but she’s the most beautiful little turtle I have ever seen so I’ll assume she’s female. Shelley is gentle, loves shrimp mash and is the most ungraceful turtle we have seen but she is so special and stole my heart the moment I met her” said Senior Quarantine Aquarist, Malini Pather.
The fourth turtle was really heart-breaking. This turtle was the largest Green turtle we have ever admitted to uShaka Sea World. Unfortunately she died a few hours after her arrival.