(Durban) – Recently, a young female Green Turtle (Cheloniamydas) was released into the sea near Sodwana Bay (Isimangaliso Wetlend Park) by uShaka Sea World Aquarist Lindani Khwela.
Scotty (who was named after the beach where she was found) was brought into uShaka Sea World in late October 2016 by an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officer after a member of the public was reported trying to sell her to the Crocworld Conservation Centre after finding her stranded on the beach at Scottburgh.
Being a local resident, he knew how unusual it was to find a turtle on the beach on the lower South Coast but was unfortunately unaware of the laws protecting turtles. The Crocworld staff contacted Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife who immediately drove her through to Durban.
When she arrived at uShaka Sea World, she was found to be severely dehydrated and in such a pitiful condition that she was unable to lift her head or move on her own. The animal care staff immediately administered fluids and antibiotics and left her to rest quietly after what must have been a harrowing journey.
Thankfully, after a few weeks she started to improve and move about on her own. She also started to eat the seaweed which was offered to her. Although she remained buoyant and initially struggled to dive, her progress was so remarkable it was decided to transfer her to a larger pool where she could attempt and finally master the art of diving.
Over the next two months she fully recovered and arrangements were made for her release.
Lindani Khwela was appointed to release her. “I felt honoured to be chosen to travel up with the team to release Scotty as it was not only my first trip up the north coast but a great privilege to be chosen to reintroduce Scotty into the ocean.”
“Although releasing Scotty took no more than a moment, it was a moment I will never forget. Being part of the team who had nursed her back to health for five months, to watch her dive beneath the waves and confidently navigate her way through the rock pools was priceless”, he added.
Even though Green Turtles do not normally nest along the KZN coastline they are naturally found in inshore areas of tropical oceans throughout the world where they feed exclusively on sea grasses and algae. As a mature female, Scotty will in all likehood nest on the same Indian Ocean Island beach that she hatched on.