By : Ann Kunz
On Saturday the 8th January an adult loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) was admitted to uShaka Sea World after being bitten by a tiger shark.
Both her front flippers had been bitten by the shark. Although she only has one third of her left flipper and two thirds of her right flipper, she is able to navigate through the water and surface to breathe.
Members of a local dive charter, Mokarran Dive Charters, who were at sea on Aliwal Shoal, saw the tiger shark turning around and biting her for the second time after noticing some abnormal behaviour in the water.
On arrival she was assessed by the resident veterinarian at SAAMBR. Thankfully she was not bleeding heavily and appeared be in good condition other than the injuries to her flippers.
She was given pain relief and left to rest in a shallow pool. Her injuries are almost exactly the same as Keena, a loggerhead turtle who was admitted to uShaka Sea World on 27th December 2020 with similar injuries. Keena has recovered from her ordeal and although she will never be able to survive on her own, she is a competent resident in the open ocean exhibit.
Over the next few days, the turtle rehabilitation team will continue to watch her closely, administer pain medication and leave her to rest and recover from the initial trauma.
“At this stage we will be taking each day one step at a time until her condition appears more stable and do everything in our power to assist her healing” said Senior Aquarist Malini Pather