70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Over the last 2 decades SAAMBR has released more than 80% of rescued turtles admitted to its Sea Turtle Hospital at uShaka Sea World in need of medical care, and earlier this week we had the opportunity to add to this amazing rehabilitation success rate.

A tiny little green turtle, covered in barnacles, was found by a member of the public on Doonside beach last October and was admitted to the Sea Turtle Hospital in a very weak state. She weighed just over 1kg and estimated to be about 1 year old. Our turtle rehabilitation team named her ‘Ohana, the Hawaiian term meaning “family” as her rescue and admission relied on a whole network of ‘ocean family members’ including the Amanzimtoti Lifeguards, the public, eThekweni Law Enforcement and the KZN Stranding Network.

Little ‘Ohana was rehydrated on arrival and we started her on a course of antibiotics. After a nice long bath and scrub to get rid of all her unwanted ‘baggage’ (epibiota, which refers to organisms that live on the surface of another one, and in ‘Ohana’s case, a lot of goose barnacles) she started feeding by herself. This is often the first indication that the sea turtle patient is determined to heal. She also started diving in her holding tank 9 days after her rescue, another good indicator of a turtle on the mend. She gained 400g over the next two months and showed us that she was feisty, strong and ready to return to her real ocean home. Our clinical veterinarian issued her with a clean bill of health for release after a final medical examination and on the 23rd of January little ‘Ohana was released back into the ocean. Our ‘sea turtle rescue family’ was well represented as we were joined onboard SAIAB’s vessel, the Phakisa by the NSRI, SPCA, eThekweni Municipality, Durban Undersea Club as well as ocean stewards from WildOceans.

It was a beautiful send-off for this little ocean warrior back into the big blue.