What to do if you encounter a stranded turtle hatchling

Posted by Imogen Searra on 3 April 2019

The Two Oceans Aquarium is appealing to beachgoers in the Western Cape to be on the lookout for turtle hatchlings. An increase in hatchling numbers has caught the attention of the Aquarium’s Turtle Rescue, Rehab and Release Programme.

Hatchlings washing ashore are common at this time of year. Here’s what to do if you encounter any at the beach.

1. Do NOT put the hatchling back in the water

2. If you encounter any hatchlings, contact the nearest Turtle Network Point immediately. For the contact details of network points, click here. Save these details in your phone

3. Put the hatchling in a dry container lined with a soft towel and air holes

4. Keep the hatchling out of sunlight and wind

5. Transport the turtle to the nearest NSRI station or to the Aquarium immediately.

Loggerhead and leatherback turtles hatch along the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal each year but with the strong currents and high predation levels, some hatchlings are deterred to the Cape’s south coast. The cold water stuns the hatchlings, leaving them extremely vulnerable and weak. This causes them to wash ashore become stranded.

The Turtle Rescue Network was established in 2018 and is the foundation of the Two Ocean’s Aquarium’s Turtle Rescue Programme. Watch below to see how the rehabilitation process works.

Image source: Twitter @SASC3

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