The sea turtle hatching season is about to start on the beaches of KZN and many Loggerhead and Leatherback hatchlings will be carried offshore in ocean currents. Every year little hatchlings are found on our local beaches due to weather conditions and currents.
What to do when turtle hatchlings are found:
- Phone S.M.A.R.T (Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team) at 072 227 4715. They will organise that the hatchlings are collected and taken to either the Dias Museum or Dr Frans De Graaff’s Hartenbos Animal Hospital. The Hospital is equipped to safely care for them until they will be sent to either Bayworld in Port Elizabeth or Two Oceans in Cape Town.
- Place a wet towel or clean cloth in a small container and place the hatchling on it. Please DO NOT place the turtle in a container with water or put it back into the ocean.
- Keep in a quiet space at room temperature and do not try to feed or handle it.
If larger sea turtles are found, they MUST also be reported to S.M.A.R.T, as they should not be on our beaches. They are most likely ill or injured. Please do not try to remove the barnacles or algae covering them and do not leave them on the beach or put them back into the water. Although it takes time, they do rehabilitate quite well and can even survive in the ocean without flippers. We mostly find large Green turtles on our beaches and the last three years we also rescued two Hawksbill turtles.
All sea turtles are a protected species and special permits or permissions are required to have them in your possession. S.M.A.R.T works in close collaboration with Bayworld and Two Oceans in this regard.
Skillie is a small loggerhead hatchling. The green sea turtle (main picture) was rehabilitated by dr Frans and released by S.M.A.R.T.