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Cape Town – It appears that loggerhead sea turtle Annie, a former resident at the Two Oceans Aquarium, has found a home in Maputo Bay.
In an update, the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation said Annie had had already been in that area for three months, after a four-month journey from Cape Town.
“She is definitely enjoying a bit of sightseeing along the way and has travelled almost 2 800km since her arrival in the bay,” the foundation said.
Maputo Bay is a large, shallow bay with incredible biodiversity and diverse habitats.
It is home to dugongs, dolphins, whales, sharks, seahorses, a large variety of fish species, and five of the seven sea turtle species.
“Maputo Bay also now seems to be home to our very special Annie. It is a good place to hang out and she is often transmitting from a marine protected area (MPA). However, she is also facing a few challenges with being rather close to a busy port and continued overfishing
“Currently the water temperature is 21°C, but often gets much warmer. The Inhaca area is a breeding site for loggerheads so it is indeed possible that Annie could nest there in summer.
“Good news for Annie is that this area has well managed conservation sites, with a large knowledge base, active research facilities and high species richness, therefore lots of turtle food.”
Annie was rescued by NSRI Station 26 Kommetjie on Noordhoek beach after she was caught up in fishing gear along with a seal in July, 2019.
The seal was successfully released, but Annie was brought to the aquarium to be cared for under its Education Foundation’s rehabilitation programme, where she became the newest member of the turtle family undergoing rehabilitation.
Annie underwent intensive critical care in the months that followed as she was incredibly weak, had a buoyancy problem and was not interested in eating.
Once rehabilitated, Annie was moved into the I&J Ocean Exhibit in November 2019, with the hope that she would do well in the extra space and in deeper water. This proved to be the case, as Annie quickly adapted to her new home and started eating a month later.
On January 14 this year, Annie and Luis, another rehabilitated loggerhead turtle, were both fitted with trackers and released back into the wild along with 19 loggerhead post-hatchlings, a sub-adult green turtle and a sub-adult hawksbill turtle.
The turtles were released about 28 nautical miles off Cape Point in a warm current.