What to do if you find a stranded sea turtle

Posted by Imogen Searra on 3 July 2020

A sub-adult green turtle was found stranded on Zinkwazi beach on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. The animal was taken to uShaka Marine World to be cared for but sadly passed away on Thursday [July 2] according to IOL.

South African waters are often visited by travelling turtles, with KwaZulu-Natal being prime nesting real estate for loggerheads and leatherbacks. Sometimes though, turtles get stranded.

Why do turtles get stranded?

Turtles hatch along the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal each year. Strong currents and a high volume of predators can deter these hatchlings to the chilly Cape south coast waters.

‘Loggerhead hatchlings which rely on warm waters to survive, sometimes lose track of the Agulhas Current. This current would normally return them into the warm, productive waters of the Indian Ocean, but often they get stranded in the cold waters of the Cape,’ says Two Oceans Aquarium.

Turtles hatchlings do not like cold water. The cold water stuns the hatchlings, leaving them extremely weak and vulnerable. This causes them to wash ashore and become stranded. Stormy weather can also throw hatchlings off course.

What to do if you find a sea turtle or hatchling?

The golden rule of finding a turtle or hatchling is to never put it back in the ocean.

KwaZulu-Natal

If you find a stranded sea turtle in KwaZulu-Natal, you need to contact uShaka Marine World on:

  • +27 31 328 8222 office hours
  • +27 31 328 8060 after hours, Public holidays & weekends
  • Send a photo of the turtle
  • Guidance will be given to first responders on beach via phone as each situation is different.
  • Please do not place the turtle back in the water.
  • Please note: Transport by public prohibited, unless permission granted from authorities.

Western Cape

The Two Oceans Aquarium have created a simple diagram on what to do if you find a sea turtle in the Western Cape.

Identify your closest Turtle Network Point here. The following contact details for turtle network points along the Cape coast are:

  • GENERAL: Contact Rescue Network Coordinator Tracy on 083 300 1663
  • V&A Waterfront, Two Oceans Aquarium
    • Helpdesk: 021 418 3823
  • Strandfontein, NSRI
    • Nicky: 082 496 0350 / 021 434 4011
  • MuizenbergShark Spotters
    • Nicole: 072 897 6583
    • Sarah: 078 174 4244
  • HermanusSouth African Shark Conservancy
    • Bjorn: 079 765 8131
    • Natalie: 084 090 3297
  • Gansbaai, African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary
    • Theanette: 0826122093
    • Brenda: 076 061 3114
    • Rescue: 072 5987 117
  • Gansbaai, Cape Stranding Network (for other animals, but can assist with turtles as needed)
    • Meredith: 082 746 5579
  • StruisbaaiNSRI Station 30
    • 24-hour line: 082 990 5952
    • Dorinda: 063 688 4760
    • Rynard: 083 273 8234
  • WitsandLower Breede River Conservancy Trust
    • Office: 028 537 1296
    • Craig: 082 537 1286
  • Stilbaai, NSRI
    • Leonie: 083 265 3515
    • George: 083 650 7430
    • Arrie: 082 990 5978
  • Wilderness, George & SedgefieldSANParks
    • Jonathan: 084 714 7793
  • KynsnaSANParks
    • Owen: 044 302 564 3/ 08 3650 8649
    • Megan: 083 650 8649
  • Plettenberg Bay, Plett Stranding Network
    • Hotline: 079 463 4837
    • Chanal: 072 317 2280
  • Plettenberg Bay, Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
    • Manager on duty: 082 486 1515

 

Image credit: Unsplash






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