We have turtle-y fabulous news! Flowtle, the little loggerhead turtle that a group of Flowstars adopted last August, has been released into the ocean!
Flowtle had been recuperating under the care of Flow’s long-standing client, the Two Oceans Aquarium, and was deemed ready to put its best flipper forward earlier in March.
Flowtle is one of an ancient turtle species that is now listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered.
Every year, the Two Oceans Aquarium receives stranded turtle hatchlings that members of the public rescue. The exhausted tiny turtles come into the aquarium after being found on beaches, unable to return to their watery home, says Two Oceans Aquarium aquarist Martine Viljoen.
Loggerheads and leatherbacks, two of the world’s seven turtle species, lay their eggs along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline between October and February. But many of the thousands of hatchlings don’t make it to the sea – they are a delightful dinner for seabirds and crabs. And even when turtle hatchlings make their way into the sea, they have many obstacles to overcome in a lifetime that can last 80 years.
They can die when they are caught up in the nets and lines that are used in commercial fishing; commercial fishing and coastal development disrupt their food supply and habitat; they can become very sick, or die, from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic and other pollution; they are captured and traded, as pets or food; and climate change is affecting them in many ways, from changes in habitat and food supply to their sex ratios – warmer conditions mean more male turtles.
We have loved watching Flowtle’s progress, and we’re thrilled that our hatchling is ready to ride the waves after two final weeks of treatment with ultraviolet lights and calcium to help harden its shell.
You can adopt a turtle hatchling, too. You get to pick a name, receive an adoption certificate and get updates on your turtle’s progress. Contact the aquarium for details.