By: Ann Kunz
Do you remember the sub-adult female green turtle who we named Stella. Well, she was released back into the ocean at Mission Rocks this morning. Mission Rocks is situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and provides an ideal release site for rehabilitated green turtles.
Stella was brought to uShaka Sea World on the 1st October 2020 after being found upside down on Zinkwazi beach by members of the NSRI. Staff from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife kindly drove her to Durban.
The following day she was examined by our resident veterinarian who took radiographs (X-rays) and blood samples which did not show any cause for concern. She was able to swim strongly and appeared to be in good health.
She was put into one of our quarantine holding pools where staff could monitor her behaviour. Although she was swimming strongly and started eating a few days later, it was noticed that she was positively buoyant. She remained positively buoyant for the first few weeks, but by the end of the month we noticed that her condition was steadily improving. By mid-November it was noted that she was no longer positively buoyant.
She made a good recovery and was recently declared ready for release. Prior to her release she was fitted with a flipper tag number ZA CC278.
“Stella is one of the most alert animals we have rehabilitated. She is constantly hungry and enjoys a diet of fish, squid and algae. Stella, like most green turtles, loves to have her carapace scratched. I am delighted with her recovery and so happy that she is now healthy and strong enough for release,” said Senior Aquarist Malini Pather.
Green Turtles are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN red list.