Featured Image Credit: Two Oceans Aquarium Facebook
Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa had a bittersweet goodbye in November. Staff, volunteers and members of the aquarium bid farewell to Yoshi, a loggerhead turtle, who was a resident of the aquarium for over 20 years. They were sad to see her go, but happy she would be returning to the wild.
Yoshi, who arrived at Two Oceans Aquarium in 1996, has grown into sexual maturity and began exhibiting new behaviors that led the team at the aquarium to decide she was ready to be released. She was estimated to be between three and five years old when she first came to Two Oceans, bringing her age to between 24 and 26 now.
Yoshi won’t be alone as she makes through the sea though. With her, 25 juvenile loggerheads were released as well. Before she was released at Cape Point, she was outfitted with a tracking device that would let researchers keep tabs on her for up to three years.
All sea turtles, including loggerheads, are endangered so conservation efforts are critical to their survival. According to IOL, “The odds of a loggerhead hatchling surviving to maturity are about one or two in 1,000.” Factors contributing to this dismal statistic are predators, poaching for meat and shells, habitat loss, ocean pollution, rising temperatures and entanglement in fishing gear.