yoshi rescue turtle
Photo Cred: Two Oceans Aquarium

Yoshi has outdone the journey of any bird, fish or mammal as this is the longest animal journey that has ever been recorded using a satellite tag, both by distance and duration!

 

Western Cape, South Africa (29 February 2020) – You’ve definitely heard of Yoshi – she’s the amazing loggerhead turtle that was released from the Two Oceans Aquarium two years ago and has gone on to become an international celebrity – her ocean journey since release has become the longest-ever recorded journey of any tracked animal ever. That’s right; this “cold-blooded” reptile has outdone the journey of any bird, fish or mammal ever recorded. That’s pretty amazing!

Now, speculation grows that Yoshi may finally have returned to her natal beach to lay eggs of her own…

Yoshi is currently steaming ahead with her incredible record-breaking journey and is a mere 66 kilometres off of the Western Australia coast. This officially puts Yoshi in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Australia – which is a great place to be, as she is now protected under Australian law which places a strong emphasis on sea turtle conservation. This is also the first time Yoshi has officially visited a country outside of Africa – her passport now gets an Australian stamp right next to South Africa, Namibia, and Angola.

Yoshi has reached Australia! Record-breaking turtle's long distance swim continues
Photo Cred: Two Oceans Aquarium

She has travelled 37 000 kilometres in the 26 months since her release in December 2017. Throughout her journey, Yoshi has averaged and maintained a swimming distance of 48 kilometres per day. The latest tracking data shows that she has slowed down slightly and is now clocking in at about 46 kilometres per day. At this stage, we can only speculate why – perhaps she is preparing to mate? However, during the past two years, Yoshi has moved into coastal areas several times to feed (typical Yoshi), so this may simply be another pitstop along her journey.

Yoshi appears to be heading towards Point Samson, a small fishing town in Western Australia’s Pilbara region – a region that is home to some of Australia’s most famous turtle nesting beaches. The area is also home to several biodiversity-rich snorkelling hotspots, like Honeymoon Cove. All this leads us to a lot of speculation – has Yoshi indeed come “home to nest” or is she simply after the tasty treats on these amazing reefs?

She has navigated her way along and across the Rowley Shelf, which is a range of beautiful atolls with incredible species diversity. She currently happens to be near to Mermaid Reef, which sounds like a lovely place to pass while on honeymoon (or at least on your way to Honeymoon Cove).

Yoshi Turtle
Photo Cred: Two Oceans Aquarium

With the very real possibility of the battery in Yoshi’s tag running out soon, we are incredibly excited that Western Australian conservation and research officials are on standby to meet her if she nests on one of these beaches – an amazing opportunity for her satellite tag to be replaced so that we can all continue to follow her amazing migration.

The tag Yoshi is currently fitted with is nearing the end of its expected service life, and in the time that it has been active, we have received well over 20 000 messages from it. According to South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs Oceans and Coasts division, who we have worked closely with to monitor Yoshi’s travels, this is the longest animal journey that has ever been recorded using a satellite tag, both by distance and duration.

Trust Yoshi to break even more records!

“Yoshi has always done things her way, and she might just keep us guessing for a while longer. Perhaps she is just filling up on some tasty morsels, or perhaps this stop will be a more significant spot on her journey. We should know pretty soon whether Yoshi is an Australian after all, and if she is about t.o add to the global loggerhead population. Yoshi has done us all proud, and we cannot wait to see what she will get up to next” – Maryke Musson, CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

Whatever Yoshi decides to do, she has truly become the world’s greatest ocean ambassador who has softened the hearts of everyone she has encountered, from the Japanese fishermen who handed her in at Cape Town for care back in 1997 and the millions of people who saw her at the Two Oceans Aquarium, to the growing community of scientists and passionate people across the globe that have been following her over two-year journey at sea.

It’s easy to see why Yoshi is the greatest turtle of all time!


Sources: Two Oceans Aquarium
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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