Plastic Free July is a time where awareness is raised regarding plastic pollution and other waste that can be harmful to our ocean and sea animals, bearing in mind that ocean pollution is an ongoing problem.
For this Plastic Free July, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation are continuing to educate the public on the negative impact that plastic pollution has on sea turtles. Plastic bags and balloons amongst others are all eaten by sea turtles who mistake it for a good meal.
According to The Two Oceans Aquarium, only 1-2 out of every 1000 sea turtle hatchlings survive to adulthood. They will continue with their rescue, rehabilitation and release programme with the aim to increase sea turtle recovery numbers worldwide.
Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtles make their nests along the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast during the summer season. Once the hatchlings come out of their shells, they enter a warm but too strong current along the Agulhas current in January and February.
By the time these hatchlings wash up on the Western Cape coast, they are weak, dehydrated and cold. With the help of the rehabilitation facility at The Two Oceans Aquarium turtle hospital, the turtles receive love, care and medical attention needed. They remain with the hospital throughout the winter months and are released once they are bigger and stronger during summer, when the water is nice and warm.
This does not only apply to baby turtles but sub-adult and adult sea turtles too, who wash up on shore. The older turtles usually suffer from external physical injuries such as boat strikes and plastic ingestion. They usually need more intensive care from MRIs to surgeries and spend longer periods of time at the hospital.
How could you make a change?
The rescuing of turtles can not be possible without the support of the public and many organisations along the Western Coast.
You can make a change this month by helping The Two Oceans Aquarium reach their fundraising target by donating to their conservation fund by clicking here. Or, buy some cool gear to wear for conservation and to raise awareness.
Read Also: Adopt an adorable sea turtle hatchling