70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

uShaka Sea World’s first turtle release this year

By Malini Pather

Release day is every rehabilitation specialist’s favourite day. Yesterday was one of those days.

Two green turtles, Hela and Calypso were returned to the ocean in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park after spending time in the care of the uShaka Sea World staff.  This marks our first turtle release of the year.

Hela arrived on the 26th August 2021 after being found upside down on a Zinkwazi beach. She was diagnosed with a severe internal infection causing her to expel blood through her nostrils when diving.   She was treated and allowed plenty of time to rest in a shallow pool which allowed her lungs time to heal.

The other turtle, Calypso, was found 10 kilometres inland in a pedestrian’s rucksack by a farmer on the KZN south coast four years ago.  Calypso had been caught with a hook which was unfortunately internally lodged and visible on radiographs. Fishing hooks can cause extensive damage internally, but they can also pass safely through a turtle’s system.  Calypso fortunately made a full recovery.

“I am overcome with emotion, helping them is always so rewarding. Release day is exciting but also a little sad because I am not sure what she will face in the wild ” said Aquarist Lindani Kwela who has worked with Calypso since her arrival.

Another one of the Aquarists working with the turtles, Ryan Rambaran, added “Working with turtles and being part of their rehabilitation journey is a privilege. Although Hela’s journey was tough in the beginning, we are so excited that she is now fit and healthy enough for release”.

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