Coast KZN

23 May 2018

Durban celebrates World Turtle Day

Zainul Dawood (Daily News) Picture: Wellington, a green turtle species, with uhaka Marine World aquarist, Malini Pather (Photo: SAAMBR)

KwaZulu-Natal is fortunate to have loggerhead and leatherback turtles nest on our sandy beaches, Ann Kunz, uShaka Seaworld education officer, said on Wednesday as World Turtle Day celebrations kicked off.

Kunz said globally, there are seven species of sea turtles – of these, five occur in South African waters.

Kunz was also delighted to announce that a two-year-old green turtle named Wellington will be released soon in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in northern KZN.

Wellington was brought to the uShaka Sea World rehabilitation centre in October 2016 where she was cared for by aquarists Malini Pather and Kelly Brown.

Wellington, a green turtle species with uShaka Marine world aquarist Kelly Brown. Picture courtesy of SAAMBR

Why are we concerned about turtles? 

All seven species of turtles are threatened. Some of the major threats include:
• Plastic pollution.
• Bycatch.
• Habitat loss – coastal developments may lead to non-availability of nesting areas.
• Climate change – skewing sex ratios of hatchlings. Warmer temperatures are associated with females and cooler temperatures are associated with males

What can we do to save turtles?
• Avoid use of single-use plastic items e.g. plastics bags, plastic cups and plastic straws.