Sea Turtle Conservation
During our summer south easterly winds, sea conditions on the west coast are greatly influenced by the upwelling of cold nutrient rich water onshore. This band of cold water can stretch up to 40 kilometers or more from the land under extended south easterly blows. Offshore away from the influence of the south easterly wind there is a dramatic change in the ocean with the water reaching up to 23 degrees in late summer and with a clean blue colour in contrast to the pea soup green or brown plankton rich inshore water.
This cold water band is vital to the food chain and is the driving force behind the whole ecosystem, however it also serves as a trap for sea turtles, both juvenile and adult who happen to find themselves caught up in this cold body of water. The turtles often “wash up” on the beach in an effort to get out of the cold water. They are simply not adapted to be in water as cold as 11 to 13 degrees, typical onshore summer conditions on the west coast.
If you happen to come across a turtle stranded on the beach please do not try to put it back into the water and do not cover it with anything wet as the evaporation will further cool the turtle which is the reverse of what you need to do in order to save it. You can cover it with dry towels and try to keep its temperature constant and either phone the Two Oceans Aquarium or better still take the turtle to the Aquarium in the Waterfront yourself.
In order to survive the turtles need to get their body temperature back to normal and they will be dehydrated which is a fast killer. The staff at the Aquarium are trained to help rehabilitate the turtles. The best thing you can do to help is get the turtle to the Aquarium.
The Two Oceans Aquarium have approached us on several occasions to assist with releasing rehabilitated turtles back to sea that were stranded ashore during high onshore wind conditions. In the photo below Sam joins us onboard Obsession while we release a batch of juvenile turtles back into the warm pelagic waters about 60km offshore.
Two Oceans are also involved in assisting with releasing injured and lost albatross that have been rehabilitated.Pictured above left with a juvenile black browed just before release and above right with a light mantled sooty albatross that made its way down to the Cape from Durban where it was found injured.
Our latest release was of a black browed albatross brought into the World of Birds in Hout Bay.