Turtle Conservation - Eastern Cape
The SARS-CoV2 pandemic might have caused humans to ‘hibernate’, but conservation of species, particularly endangered species, not only continued unabated, but also had some incredible developments.
One of these incredible developments was the acoustic tagging of Sea Turtles by Bayworld (PE Museum) and East London Aquarium based in the Eastern Cape. The success of this development is best captured by quoting the ‘driving force’ behind Sea Turtle rehabilitation and conservation in the Eastern Cape: “I just want to say a HUGE thanks to everyone for your contributions, advice, time, equipment and expertise that you all bring to this ongoing project. It's awesome to have such a collaboration between all our institutions, proudly Eastern Cape! Thanks So Much, this truly wouldn't be possible without you all and it is much appreciated!”
To date, we have had 3 tagging events: December 2020 and March 2021 (at Bayworld) and December 2021 (at East London Aquarium). We have amended our research agreement with SANPARKS to safely release in the MPA in Algoa Bay which has been extended to the end of December 2022 with possibility to extend further. We have tagged 2 Hawksbills,3 Greens and 6 Loggerheads from both Bayworld (6 turtles) and East London Aquarium (5 turtles). The turtles ranged in size from 2kg at 20.8cm SCL (smallest being a post-hatchling Loggerhead) up to 18.7kg at 44cm SCL (sub-adult Green). We have released the animals in the MPA in Algoa Bay and off Port Alfred in close proximity to ATAP receivers.
Initial results are that we are getting pings even off Mosselbay which is very exciting!
The following is a graphical record of the initial data as presented at the BAF/Oceans Alive mini symposium November 2021:
As mentioned above, this development would not be possible without the incredible collaborations and collaborators, namely:
Where does PAAZA fit into this? Both Bayworld and East London Aquarium are Operationally Compliant members of PAAZA and they aspire to the best practice in animal welfare (wellbeing) and code of Ethics as promoted by PAAZA. PAAZA in turn aspires, amongst others, to the WAZA Welfare and Conservation strategies as well as the Animal Welfare Assessment goal of 2023.
You can follow the developments on the dedicated web: Turtle Conservation and soon through the mobile app.