Photo Credit: Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation

Stranded turtle hatchlings will start washing up along Western Cape beaches and they may not always look like turtles at first; this turtle was completely camouflaged by barnacles.


Cape Town, South Africa (26 February 2024) – Rescuers spotted a bit of sea debris moving while on a walk, curious, they looked closer and saw that it was in fact a stranded turtle hatchling covered in barnacles. They acted quickly and the little turtle was saved!

It is rescues like this that help the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation save as many turtles as possible. In the coming months, more and more of these little turtles will wash up along beaches.

Stranding season usually runs from March to July each year, so the Aquarium is encouraging beachgoers to keep an eye out.

Hatchling Season

The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation started preparing for Turtle Hatchling Season back in January, and the first rescues will most likely arrive very soon.

So many of these hatchlings wash up on the Western Cape coastlines because when they are born on the Northern Beaches in KwaZulu-Natal, they make their way into the ocean and towards the warm Agulhas current.

If a hatchling is lucky, it will be carried by the Agulhas Current as it turns east off the coast of the Western Cape and out into the warm Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy for the tiny hatchlings, and many of them are ejected from the Agulhas Current into the cold water of the Atlantic. This water is too cold for these hatchlings to survive. They get gradually weaker and weaker as they try to return to the Agulhas – an effort that is made increasingly difficult in bad weather, barnacles taking over the little body or if the turtle has been harmed by ingesting plastic pollution.

These weakened hatchlings inevitably wash up on the Western Cape’s coast, and without human intervention, they have no chance of surviving. We have a responsibility to help these animals.

The hatchlings that wash up in the Western Cape are all taken to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Once they have been rehabilitated and are healthy enough, they are released back into the ocean.

If you would like to help the team prepare, you can do so here.

Sources: TOAF
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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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