Thanks to an observant member of the public a young green turtle was rescued at Doonside, Amanzimtoti earlier this week. She appeared very weak and carried quite a lot of goose barnacles on her shell. Barnacles often hitch a free ride on sea turtles and vessels, but these can weigh down small turtles and often indicate that the turtle might be health compromised.
eThekwini law enforcement officers assisted with getting this little turtle admitted to the SAAMBR Sea Turtle Hospital at uShaka Sea World.
Diagnostics revealed dehydration, gas trapped in her intestinal tract (as can be seen on the X-Ray and could be indicative of a plastic obstruction in the gut) as well as an infection (reactive white cells in her blood smear).
Her treatment thus far has included supportive fluids as well as antibiotics and we are keeping a close eye on her gut movement. She is receiving a lot of TLC from the turtle rehabilitation team and seems to have turned a corner and starting to look stronger.
She has been named Ohana, which means family as she will be part of the turtle family at SAAMBR during her recovery and while we get her release ready. We estimate her to be about 18 months old and she most likely hatched on one of the islands in the Mozambique channel. Green turtles are widely distributed in tropical and sub-tropical ocean waters but are under threat due to harvesting of eggs, being caught in ghost-fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites.
“Although I fall in love with each and every turtle that is brought into our care, some turtles manage to creep a little deeper into my heart, and Ohana is one of them” said Lead Quarantine Aquarist Malini Pather.