A team from the Two Oceans Aquarium have started a road trip to help train children to properly rescue stranded turtles, becoming official turtle superheroes!
Southern Coast, South Africa (18 February 2020) – A team from the Two Oceans Aquarium have set off on an epic road trip to teach children about what to do when they find a stranded turtle hatchling. Starting in March, its hatchling season, so they want to get people educated before the stranded turtle start popping up.
The team set off on their trip on the 17th of February and will be visiting some major beach towns along the southern coast of South Africa. The tour ends on the 28th of February.
The team is made up of nine passionate conservationists, aquarists and turtle-lovers from the Two Oceans Aquarium, and its non-profit, public benefit partner, the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.
“This year, the Turtle Rescue Programme team hopes to expand the number of people who are equipped with the knowledge needed to save the life of a stranded turtle hatchling immensely, by visiting thousands of school children at over 35 schools, and bringing them fun, interactive lessons. Hopefully, we’ll be creating future turtle rescuers who are inspired to take action should the need arise!”
Endangered Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal. The hatchlings have started to make their journey to the ocean and those that succeed, are at risk of being swept up in the Agulhas Current. If they do, they could end up on the beaches of the Southern Cape coast of South Africa.
“This journey is not easy: every hatchling will face high levels of predation, strong currents and plastic pollution. Stunned by cold water, dehydrated and injured, many hatchlings find themselves stranded on the beaches of the southern Cape.”
The road trips from previous years have been really successful. In 2019, the aquarium received their highest ever number of rescues thanks to the educational road trips.
Below are all the places the team will be visiting.
“The Turtle Road Trip will be stopping at schools and community organisations along our southern coast from 17 to 28 February – but we’ll also be visible in your communities should you want to chat! Keep an eye out for our turtle-branded convoy as we visit the coastal communities – we’re nice and would love to talk turtle conservation with you!
Here are the major towns we’ll be visiting:
- Monday 17 February – Plettenberg Bay
- Tuesday 18 February – Knysna
- Wednesday 19 February – Sedgefield & Rheenendal
- Thursday 20 February – Wilderness & George
- Friday 21 February – Stilbaai & Witsand
- Saturday 22 February – Stilbaai
- Sunday 23 February – Infanta, De Hoop, De Mond, Arniston & Agulhas
- Monday 24 February – Agulhas, Bredasdorp, Struisbaai, Die Dam, Franskraal & Pearly Beach
- Tuesday 25 February – Gansbaai & Stanford
- Wednesday 26 February – Hermanus
- Thursday 27 February – Hermanus & Gansbaai”
There are also several public events where the team will be doing beach cleanups as well as potential turtle rescues. For a full breakdown of each event, you can find out more here.
For anyone unable to attend, the aquarium has also shared educational information on what to do if you find a hatchling.
- DO NOT PUT IT BACK IN THE WATER! Instead put the hatchling in a small, dry container with air holes and something soft to rest on.
- Identify your nearest Turtle Rescue Network point. These are organisations that will transport the hatchling to either the Two Oceans Aquarium or Bayworld Aquarium for rehabilitation. If you’re unsure where to take the turtle, contact our network coordinator, Tracy, on 083 300 1663.
- Transport the turtle to the Network Point – keep it out of the direct sun, do not cover it and do not try to give it water or food. Simply move it as quickly and gently as possible.
- Let the Network Point know where you found the turtle, get the name of the person you hand the turtle over to.
“If you’d like to see this process in greater detail, or learn how to rescue a big turtle – check out this article.”
The Two Oceans Aquarium would love it if you donated to support their efforts in rescuing and rehabilitating the turtles. You can do so here.