Our Turtle Heroes at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation

There are seven species of sea turtles - five of them live in South African waters and appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Without active conservation interventions, marine turtle populations are expected to continue their decline to extinction. The work by the turtle team at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation's Turtle Conservation Centre, gives us hope. Morukuru Family admires their passion and dedication. The centre has achieved an incredible 85% release rate and continues to contribute to the growing global knowledge base of turtle rehabilitation and treatment plans. As Morukuru Family and Morukuru Goodwill Foundation, we’re committed to supporting their work and would like to showcase the team behind these incredible efforts. Talitha Noble-Trull has been involved in turtle conservation for seven years, actively assisting in hands-on care and turtle rehabilitation efforts, releases from boats and on land, behind-the-scenes visits, education, and more.  Talitha has led the team in the considerable education work along the Western Cape coast, visiting schools and organisations, hosting many talks, and strategically placing turtle rescue signs in key areas (we have them up at De Hoop Nature Reserve) so that people know what to do if they find a turtle. Turtles that have hatched on the Kwazulu-Natal coastline often end up washed up on the Western Cape beaches and are suffering from hypothermia and dehydration after being immersed in the colder waters. This is where Tracey Whitehead comes in. Tracey heads up the Turtle Rescue Network, a dedicated group of organisations and people along the South African coastline who volunteer their time to ensure all turtles receive the care they need as quickly as possible. Organising lifts and liaising with the aquarium so that everything is ready for their arrival is Tracey’s strength and a role she embraces with unwavering passion and dedication. The network is abuzz during the turtle hatchling season, occurring from March to May, but calls come in for turtles in need all year round. Razaan Keur is the Turtle Clinic Coordinator, ensuring all medical records and treatments are taken care of. Her days include preparing medication, administering antibiotics, antifungals, wound treatments, nebulisers, and updating turtle progress charts. What she loves most about her role is that every day is different. She also finds joy in sharing in the success of the number of turtles the team saves and returns to the ocean. Ayesha Cornellius, Sea Turtle Aquarist, is hands-on during the turtle’s rehabilitation process, taking care of all their wellness needs, from making the perfect meals and recording progress to ensuring they all take their necessary vitamins. Ayesha also imparts her knowledge in training turtle interns and volunteers. Ayesha loves to see the difference that the team’s care has on the turtles’ ultimate outcome. There are many more people at the Two Oceans Aquarium who support the team in all its achievements, including experts specialising in communication, fundraising, logistics, and education. Every turtle counts in this journey. De Hoop Nature Reserve is a Marine Protected Area and has become a key site for the release of rehabilitated turtles. It was a privilege for Morukuru Family to become involved in this critical work and sponsor a satellite tag for Bheni, a green turtle (green turtles are considered endangered). Bheni has made incredible progress and at the last update on 9 April 2024 he was 1 500km southeast of Madagascar and 5 000km from Mainland Australia since his release on the 8th of December 2023. Bheni travelled 6 500km in 121 days, an average of 53.7km per day! We keep a running update on our blog when we hear from the Turtle Rescue Team. Guests at Morukuru Family De Hoop can book the optional ‘Coastal Conservation with a Purpose’ package, provided you’ve booked a minimum two nights at Morukuru Beach Lodge or Morukuru Ocean House. This includes a behind-the-scenes visit of the Two Oceans Aquarium Turtle Conservation Centre in Cape Town before or after your stay (your visit supports the centre’s research, conservation, and education work). You’ll also get a look at the solar operations and alien vegetation removal operations at De Hoop Nature Reserve amongst exploring all its coastal beauty and enjoying all our luxury touchpoints during your stay. If you’re a regular beach walker on our Western Cape coastline, keep the Turtle Rescue Hotline number saved: + 27 (0) 83 300 1663.