Durban – The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) shared the story of Calypso the green sea turtle’s progress on World Turtle Day on Tuesday.

Saambr’s Ann Kunz said that Calypso is one of their feisty green turtle patients in the Saambr Sea Turtle Hospital at uShaka Sea World, who recently went for a CT scan so that they could assess in more detail injuries sustained after a boat strike.

“Calypso is now known as the ‘luckiest unlucky’ turtle as she has been rescued twice in the last five years, first after being poached and dropped in a banana plantation on the South Coast, and more recently after being spotted floating in the Umzimkulu River,” Kunz explained.

“Her carapace (shell) is healing well from quite an extensive fracture; however, she is still quite buoyant, which is a reason for concern.”

Kunz said that the CT scan showed a possible spinal cord injury that has not as yet healed, and their clinical vet, Dr Caryl Knox, is assessing the impact of this injury through neurological examinations.

“At this stage, we have a guarded prognosis but hope that she will regain full mobility and strength of her back flippers in time. She is really clever and adapted well to her current challenges, finding ways to anchor herself on the bottom of her recovery pool for naps and using her front flippers to steer, which is usually what the back flippers assist with,” Kunz said.

“Our primary goal is always to get these rescued sea turtles back to perfect health for release and it seems as if Calypso’s rehabilitation journey might just take a bit longer.”

Kunz added that their turtle team is encouraging her daily with lots of TLC, good nutrition and the right exercises to contribute to another successful recovery and release story.

“Feel free to send Calypso some get-well messages too,” Kunz said.

Meanwhile, recently Saambr released five turtles back into the ocean after rehabilitation.

Three rehabilitated green turtles were released after receiving their all-clear fit-for-release certificates from Knox, last Wednesday.

The release included a little tripod, Shelley, who was a feisty little patient. Shelley lost her right front flipper as a post-hatchling but has shown the team that she is strong, determined and ready for the big ocean.

Toby and Senza were also released, two sub-adult green turtles. Toby was under their care for just over a year after being rescued in Richards Bay, and Senza was rescued in Port Shepstone in September 2022. Both of them responded well to their treatment.

Last month, Odin and Duke, two sub-adult green turtles, were also released.

Odin was found by a fisherman near the Bluff in October last year. The turtle was in critical condition. He was very lethargic and completely emaciated and dehydrated and the team was worried about his chances of survival. After a good clean and some supportive care, including eight weeks of tube feeding and medication, he started to feed by himself, which was a good indication that he was on the mend. After six months of rehabilitation and recovery, gaining a full 10kg, he was cleared for release by Saambr’s clinical vet.

Duke was found floating upside down in a pool of water on Garvies beach in December 2021. On arrival at the Sea Turtle Hospital, Duke was also quite emaciated, lethargic and positively buoyant. Initial diagnostics indicated that he was suffering from an internal gut infection. He received the right treatment and started eating within three days, which is always a good sign. Duke gained a solid 6kg while under Saambr’s care and was deemed fit for release following his health examination. What a little champ.

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Daily News

2023-05-24T18:31:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd