When a group of fishermen spotted a large loggerhead turtle from their boat, drifting near Hout Bay, they decided to keep a close eye on it – something didn’t seem right. When the turtle did not appear to react to nearby dorado, and did not dive when the boat approached, the crew realized this was not a healthy animal and decided to help.
After contacting the Two Oceans Aquarium for advice, they lifted the turtle onto the boat and took it to the harbor as quickly as possible to meet the conservation team. While lifting it, it became clear to the crew just how weak the turtle was.
“Luis” the loggerhead is now at the Two Oceans Aquarium where he will be cared for by the conservation team of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation until he is again strong enough to be released. Aside from a few scars, a crooked nose and lots of goose barnacles, he seems to be in good condition externally – which suggests that whatever is ailing this poor turtle is internal. He will be undergoing x-rays and other examinations over the coming days, but these are resilient animals, so the team is very optimistic.
It’s normally difficult to tell a turtle’s sex without close examination – but it’s quite obvious from the length of Luis the loggerhead’s tail that he is male. Male turtles never return to land in nature, and this is certainly going to be a memorable pit stop in what will hopefully be a long and uneventful life!
The Aquarium will be posting updates about this massive loggerhead as more detail becomes available. If you’d like to support the conservation work of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, and help rehabilitate other turtles like Luis, you can make a contribution here: https://www.aquarium.co.za/shop/.
What a start to National Marine Month!