The strong Southeasterly winds in the Cape have been causing large amounts of tiny turtle hatchlings to wash up on the shores of False Bay, and the Two Oceans Aquarium has put together some helpful information so locals know what to do if they come across these cute creatures.
First things first, the number one thing you should not do if you come across a hatchling on the beach is to put them back in the water. Water temperatures can often be too cold for these little creatures and it is best to safely transport them to a place that can eventually get them to the Two Oceans Aquarium where they can be cared for.
Find your nearest Turtle Network Point via the Two Oceans Aquarium site and carefully transport the turtle in a tub with air holes and a dry towel.
Ensure that while you transport the turtle it is out of the sunlight and wind, and make your way to the Turtle Network drop-off point as fast as you can.
It is also helpful to take note of the following when coming across one of these turtles:
– Whether it is a big turtle or a tiny hatchling
– Where you found it
– If the turtle has any obvious injuries
– If you hand the turtle over to someone else to transport, ask for their name and contact number.
It is not just smaller hatchlings that get stranded; if you come across a larger turtle, here are a few things to keep in mind:
– Even if a turtle appears dead, check to see if it responds to touch – they often slow down due to hypothermia.
– Remember that these are scared wild animals – stay away from their mouths as they can bite.
– If you attempt to transport a turtle, only lift it by its shell and ensure that it is placed somewhere it cannot fall from if it struggles such as the back of a bakkie. Call to the drop-off point in advance so they can prepare for your arrival.
If you would like to follow up on the rescue of the turtle once it has left your care, feel free to send the aquarium a message. If you would like to track the progress of the turtle you helped save, you can follow their progress in other quarterly Turtle Rescue newsletter.
Find out more information here.
Pictures: Two Oceans Aquarium