beaches
Photo Credit: Martine Viljoen - Screengrab

The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is a beautiful stretch of beaches that become turtle nesting grounds from October to March; a team walked the beaches to ensure nesting turtles were protected.

 

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (06 January 2022) – A group of dedicated South Africans spent time over the holidays walking along the KZN beaches, checking for nesting turtles, and making sure they got back to the ocean safely.

Martine Viljoen from the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation spent time in Bhanga Nek, KwaZulu-Natal, working with a team to monitor the nesting turtles. Working with sick turtles and stranded hatchlings, she was able to see firsthand the beauty of a healthy turtle laying eggs on a clean and safe beach.

Martine shared her experience along with footage of a female Loggerhead turtle making her way back to the ocean after laying her eggs. Martine joined Natalie dos Santos, a Masters candidate from the Nelson Mandela University, acted as a guide, sharing her knowledge about what they are experiencing along the coastline.

“South African turtle nesting season 2021/22. Every year from October to March, adult female loggerhead and leatherback turtles crawl up the beaches of northeastern KwaZulu-Natal to nest and thousands of hatchlings enter the sea for the first time. The Nelson Mandela University sea turtle research team spend a couple months at Bhanga Nek and Manzengwenya collecting data on the adult females and hatchlings for conservation research.

We walk a 10km stretch of beach every night looking for nesting turtles, measuring carapace sizes, flipper tagging, taking DNA samples, counting eggs, inserting temperature probes into nests, counting barnacles and describing injuries (to name a few). I am so grateful to be able to work with these amazing animals and the epic humans they bring together.” – Natalie dos Santos.

Heading up a citizen science programme, Natalie hopes that collaboration from various ocean-loving individuals will help them understand the turtles that nest in South Africa better.

“We need help from recreational divers, fishermen, snorkelers and surfers with cameras to contribute to this research through ‘Citizen Science’ by sharing footage and information about any sea turtle encounters with us. We hope to establish a long-term in-water monitoring program for sea turtles in our waters using data collected by citizen scientists.” 

If you have any questions, would like to contribute data or see a detailed budget of the project, please don’t hesitate to get in contact via email (natsdossantos22@gmail.com). You can also donate towards this important cause via BackaBuddy here.

Take a look below at one of the Loggerhead turtles they monitored as she made her way back to the ocean.

 

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A post shared by Martine Viljoen (@martineviljoen)


Sources: Martine Viljoen / Natalie dos Santos
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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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