The Two Oceans Aquarium and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation’s latest sea turtle adoption campaign is encouraging, and calling on members of the public, corporates, and other organisations to “adopt” one of the sea turtle hatchlings that is currently being rehabilitated by the Foundation. The R6 000 adoption fee will help cover some of the expenses associated with the rehabilitation of the individual sea turtle until it is healthy and ready for release.
Adopters will be able to pick a name for the turtle, will receive a certificate of adoption, will be kept in the loop with news and updates about the turtle, and will have the knowledge that they contributed to the conservation of an endangered species. (The turtle is to remain at the Aquarium at all times.)
Those who are interested in “adopting” one of these turtles can do so by visiting https://aquariumfoundation.org.za/shop/adopt-a-hatchling/.
“We are very excited to be launching our 2022 hatchling adoptions. Looking after each individual little hatchling takes an incredible amount of care and costs a lot of money – approximately R8 000 per individual! We are putting the hatchlings up for adoption at R6 000 to allow members of the public, communities, school groups, friends, etc. to join forces to adopt one of these babies,” said Talitha Noble (Conservation Manager, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation)
“By adopting a turtle and receiving the certificate, updates and so forth, one is reminded that each of these little turtle lives is precious and incredibly meaningful. Not only that, but for the Aquarium Foundation, each adopted turtles also helps us to continue rehabilitating sea turtles,” said Noble.
All the turtles available for adoption are listed here: https://aquariumfoundation.org.za/shop/adopt-a-hatchling/ and adoption is easily processed online by just clicking on the hatchling and following the prompts.
Why the Foundation rehabilitates sea turtles
Endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles annually nest on the beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal. After hatching, the tiny loggerhead hatchlings make their way into the warm Agulhas Current where they drift south along with this current. Between March and May every year, strong winds and rough seas push the little turtles into the cold water off the Western Cape coastline. They become hypothermic and dehydrated and eventually strand on beaches. Members of the public rescue these little turtles and, through the Turtle Rescue Network, bring them to the Two Oceans Aquarium for rehabilitation.
Each specific rehabilitation process is dictated by the individual turtle. Rehabilitation may include X-rays, MRI scans, physiotherapy, targeted medication, and procedures as well as specialised operations. The turtles are also fed a specialised diet to ensure that they achieve optimum health before release. The intensive and dedicated rehabilitation process can take anything from a couple of months to years and is carried out by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. Considering that only one or two sea turtle hatchlings will survive to adulthood, the primary aim of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation’s turtle rehabilitation programme is to be able to release every turtle that they have received for rehabilitation and through that contribute to the population of the species. The programme is currently caring for 70 hatchlings.
Funding of the rehabilitation programme relies entirely on donations and sponsorships. In addition to sponsoring the sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation, and release programme, Ardagh Glass Packaging – Africa (AGP – Africa, formerly Consol Glass) has “adopted” two of the turtle hatchlings currently being rehabilitated. The public can visit AGP – Africa’s Facebook page to enter a competition to name the adopted turtles. The winners of the selected names will win tickets to the Two Oceans Aquarium.
“Our dedicated team works very hard to ensure that each turtle is given the absolute best care possible. Over the years we have received great support from companies like Ardagh Glass Packaging, for which we are incredibly grateful. We hope that even more individuals, groups, and companies will be able to contribute to our sea turtle adoption programme this year,” said Noble.