Where in the world is Yoshi? We're having fun tracking SA's favourite turtle

2018-06-19 06:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Two Oceans Aquarium's ‘celebrity’ loggerhead turtle, Yoshi, is keeping us entertained with her Atlantic travels along the west coast of Africa.

The 183kg turtle, whom the aquarium describes as being the size of a dinner plate when she arrived in 1997, was fitted with a satellite tag and released south-west of Hout Bay on 16 December 2017.

Her age, health and behaviours led the team at Two Oceans Aquarium to decide to release her back into the ocean, and since then, we’re enjoying following her ocean ventures.

SEE: WATCH: Two Oceans Aquarium releases Holy Moly the sunfish, but where is Yoshi the turtle?

Yoshi was last tracked about 280km west of Sumbe, Angola, on 7 June – just a few months after entering Namibian waters on 28 January.

She swam an impressive 4 600km since her release. “Over the last 171 days she has averaged about 27km per day which is good going for a turtle her size and with her very frequent snack stops,” says the aquarium, adding that in another 500km Yoshi will swim past her fourth country.

ALSO SEE: Explore Two Oceans Aquarium at night with After Dark concerts + SA winter music events to attend

“Right now she is hanging around above a large seamount – which makes us suspect that she is filling that stomach of hers again,” says the aquarium.

Check out Yoshi’s journey:

Yoshi journey June 2018 - Two Oceans Aquarium

Photo: Two Oceans Aquarium.

Also watch Yoshi’s release here:

Protection of turtles

According to Two Oceans Aquarium, five turtle species travel the Angolan coast, while olive ridley, green and leatherback turtles nest along this coastline.

Angola has hunting laws and a number of projects that protect loggerhead turtles, such as the Kitabanga Project.

“The biggest threat to Yoshi right now would be ghost fishing gear which entangles many marine animals all over the world. We trust she is strong, and clever, enough to navigate her way safely around any hazards while heading for potential nesting sites,” says the aquarium.

ALSO SEE: #WorldOceanDay: 0.4% protection for SA oceans is just not enough

With Yoshi having left Two Oceans, the aquarium continues to assist loggerhead turtles and other marine species.

It’s most recent newcomer to its Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is Phiko, a baby loggerhead turtle, whom visitors can see in the exotic Skretting Diversity Gallery.

While many organisations in SA, like Two Oceans Aquarium, are doing what it can to protect our oceans and marine life, more needs to be done – especially since it has been revealed that only 0.4% of South Africa's ocean regions are currently being protected.

MUST- SEE: Leonardo DiCaprio encourages support of #OnlyThisMuch campaign for protection of SA's oceans

Following this, a new coalition of organisations was launched with the aim of advancing greater protection of South Africa’s oceans though the #OnlyThisMuch campaign.

This new alliance of national and international organisations aims to build support for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by creating awareness of its value. Click here to find out more about the campaign.