Yoshi, the famous Two Oceans Aquarium turtle, made the longest journey ever tracked via satellite tag and has now sent out her final ping. Her story is far from over!
Global (28 October 2020) – In 1997, a crew of Japanese fishermen rescued a small injured loggerhead sea turtle out in the Indian ocean. They kept it safely on board, and as soon as they arrived at the port of Cape Town, they contacted the Two Oceans Aquarium.
At the time, the aquarium had only been open to the public for two years. The crew handed the little turtle over, and so began the story of Yoshi. She was named after the vessel’s cook, Yoshitaro, a man of small stature just like the little turtle.
Yoshi was the very first sea turtle rescued and rehabilitated by the aquarium. For the next two decades, Yoshi was a staple in the large tank and a favourite of many (including myself).
After a time, Yoshi started displaying signs that she was ready to be a mother. It was then decided in 2017, after two decades living at the aquarium, that she was ready and mature enough to be released into the wild.
It was an emotional day for all the loved Yoshi, saying goodbye to her even had us all choked up. Her journey was then tracked via a satellite tag. For the next few years, Yoshi explored the ocean and set off towards Australia.
Yoshi reached Australia in February this year, and it was a massive success. As of December, Yoshi will have been in the wild for three years. In that time she has broken the record for the longest journey tracked via satellite. She has travelled over 1,003 days and swimming over 40,000km. Her satellite tag has sent out 23,509 satellite messages from 6,282 satellite passes. In that same time, she has crossed two ocean basins and visited two continents.
All the above has led to the final satellite transmission from Yoshi’s tag. The Two Ocean’s Aquariums took to Facebook to celebrate Yoshi’s success and the work her life inspired.
“After 1 003 days, 40 011km, 23 509 transmissions, 2 oceans, 4 countries and millions of fans – Yoshi’s satellite tag has finally stopped transmitting. The greatest turtle of all time is at last, truly, on her own! 🐢
This is not the end of her journey by any means! With 60 years of life ahead of her, and the possibility of breeding on the fertile and protected coast of Western Australia, we’re expecting plenty of baby Yoshi’s in the future!
But, those babies will face the same man-made ocean dangers their mom did. To help the survival odds of all sea turtles, the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, under the leadership of Maryke Musson (quite possibly the biggest Yoshi fan of all time) runs a highly successful sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation programme that you can support here: https://aquariumfoundation.org.za/support-our-causes/
We would like to thank the Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries who have been a key partner in tracking and monitoring Yoshi over the past 3 years, as well as the countless local and Australian scientists, conservationists, indigenous trackers and government officials who have supported this journey. And, of course, the millions of Yoshi fans we are positive gave her the encouragement she needed to make her epic ocean crossing!
In the meantime, here is our tribute to Yoshi. Viva Yoshi!!”
Please take a look at the day she was released below. The continued updates have filled our hearts with so much joy; we will miss them greatly! We are, however, overjoyed that Yoshi has reached protected waters and can start her new life. Goodbye dearest Yoshi, best of luck in that big blue world!