Coast KZN

29 May 2022

Richards Bay stranded turtle will soon swim to freedom

Tamlyn Head (Zululand Observer) Picture: SAAMBR/Facebook. Toby the young female green turtle was stranded on the beach at Richards Bay and has undergone rest and rehabilitation at uShaka Sea World

A young  green turtle found upside down on the beach at Richards Bay has been undergoing rehabilitation at uShaka Sea World in Durban and will soon be released. The turtle, named Toby, was rescued on 12 April, during the floods that ravaged much of the KZN coastline. She could not be transported to Durban immediately owing to the flood-damaged roads, and was cared for in Richards Bay for two days.

Under the guidance of the turtle rehabilitation staff at Sea World, the Ison family, who rescued the stranded creature, kept her safe and warm, and gave her freshwater baths.

Two days later, Toby was driven down to Sea World in Durban where she underwent all the necessary health checks and tests. As reported by the SA Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), when Toby was admitted at uShaka Sea World, she appeared a little tired but in good health, with no physical injuries.

Her carapace was free of algal growth and epibiota (parasites), but she was positively buoyant and unable to dive. Radiographs showed gas in her coelomic cavity, so Toby was given time to rest and regain her strength. She is now undergoing her ‘exit medical’, and will be released once this is complete and her release permit has been granted.

‘Toby’s recovery was a rapid one and we are so excited she is almost ready for release. We are grateful the Ison family from Richards Bay was able to assist us with this rescue, and that Toby was able to remain safe until she could be transported to the turtle hospital,’ said lead aquarist Malini Pather.

‘We rely on the support of both Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the KZN Stranding Network to co-ordinate rescues, without which our ability to help stranded turtles would be a lot more challenging.’