Bheni tentatively makes their way across the beach of De Hoop Nature Reserve and into the De Hoop MPA waters.

Bheni the Green Turtle is swimming freely in the big wide ocean off the coast of Southern Africa, enjoying the currents and warmer waters.


South Africa (18 February 2024) – It has been a few months since Bheni the Green Turtle was released in the De Hoop Marine Protected Area and he is really loving the wide open ocean. The Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation have shared an update on where Bheni is at the moment.

Bheni was the first turtle fitted with a satellite tag to be released in the incredible Marine Protected Area (MPA) of De Hoop, thanks to the generosity of the Morukuru Family and the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation. He was released on the 8th of December, 2023, and has travelled a fair distance.

According to the team, Bheni took his time adjusting to his freedom and spent his first week exploring De Hoop. He then moved a little further offshore (no more than 50km) and headed westward, past Cape Agulhas and False Bay, making a sharp southward turn just 95km south of Cape Point.

“Since 11 January, Bheni has been riding the rollercoaster surface currents in a big way. He has moved in a big C-shape that is completely aligned with the currents (you can see this in the surface current map). He’s been moving at speed!

Bheni has travelled 1 930km in 23 days. That’s 84km per day – he is flying! The top speed of the surrounding current is about 1m/s, which equates to about 8.5km per day. So even though Bheni is using this current, he is actively swimming 10 times faster than the current is moving.

Bheni is also swimming right into South Africa’s most offshore Marine Protected Area: The Agulhas Front MPA. This MPA protects four different deep-sea habitat types, sustains a wide variety of life, and includes a core foraging area for the critically endangered leatherback turtle! Is Bheni making leatherback friends in this special spot dubbed the “turtle tuck-shop”? I certainly hope so!” – Talitha Noble-Trull

Bheni’s Rehabilitation Journey

On 4 December 2022, Bheni was rescued from stranding in Saldanha Bay by one of the organisations in the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre’s incredible Turtle Rescue Network. Although Bheni initially appeared to be in good health, with visibly good physical condition and a strong appetite, it was soon discovered that this new arrival had an infection on the right side of the carapace (top shell) under the scutes (shell plates).

Turtle shells hold numerous nerve endings and blood vessels, so a ‘simple’ infection can develop into something more serious. Thanks to the expert care of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation veterinary team, the infected scutes were removed, and the wound was successfully treated.

Bheni, who weighed 26.9 kg on arrival, was released into De Hoop at a healthy 42.3 kg, leaving the Turtle Conservation Centre team feeling confident that he will thrive in the wild.

You can stay tuned to his progress by following the foundation on Facebook here.

Sources: Two Oceans Aquarium
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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