Saving Li’l Turtles

I went to a Travel Massive event at the Two Oceans Aquarium on Tuesday. It’s a pretty spectacular place at night. In fact, it’s a pretty spectacular place always, but somehow being there after hours and having it all to ourselves added a certain thrill.

I’m always enthralled by how leggy all those marine creatures are. Enormous, eight-legged crabs, luminescent jelly fish trailing multiple tentacles and frills, shrimps with legs and feelers and stalky eyes. They’re like animals from a Dr Seuss story. The silvery schools, the hugging starfishes, the Sea Horses! Too lovely.

But this blog isn’t about all the leggy creatures, this is about something I learnt last night that every person living on, or visiting, the Cape coast should know. Jenni Leibbrandt, of the aquarium, watched over by the gorgeous turtle in the enormous tank behind her (it was almost as if she was checking that it was all factual) explained about tiny turtles washed up on the shores around the Cape.

You see I had, mistakenly I now realise, thought that if I was ever lucky enough to find a baby turtle (who, I think, should be called turtlets) washed up on the shore, I should leave the li’l thing alone, or help it back into the sea.

Wrong.

Those little critters are cold. Cape Town’s waters don’t suit their sunny temperaments and they’ve only landed up there because they got swept all the way from KwaZulu Natal by the wrong current. So, no, this is one occasion where ‘leave nature alone’ doesn’t apply.

Here, Jenni explained, one needs to help the little guy by putting him in a dry box and taking him straight to the aquarium (or calling them) and they’ll take it from there, as part of their turtle rehab programme.

Tell your friends, tell your children, and tell them to tell their friends. Those little turtles don’t deserve to have chattering lips (beaks?) and cold flippers.

Look at June go:

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