Go Well Raphael II (20th April 2011)
Wednesday 20th April 2011 was a special morning for both Mea Trenor (Sea World) and young Raphael II, a small Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) who became a celebrity when he was brought into Sea World weighing less than 40 grams just over a year ago.
Raphael II was found by two paddle skiers floating in the ocean approximately 20 kilometres out to sea and they brought him uShaka Sea World. It was love at first sight for Sea World staff who were charged with his care as they marvelled at his quick recovery and tenacious spirit.
In order to give Raphael II the best chance of survival it was decided to keep him at Sea World until he weighed over 1 kilogram before returning him to the ocean. He continued to gain weight under the watchful eyes of the Sea World Aquarists who fed him on a specialised diet, which included sardines and prawns. At the beginning of April 2011 the veterinarian gave Raphael II a clean bill of health and the go-ahead to start preparations for reintroduction into the ocean.
As the sea conditions were perfect this morning, young Raphael II was placed into a transport container and loaded onto uShaka Sea World's ORV I ready for the 10 nautical mile journey off uShaka Beach into the warm off shore currents. Mea described the moment she release Raphael into the water "Wow, what an experience! This is a very special turtle to me as he is the inspiration behind getting me into this line of work. I feel quite emotional and blessed to be a part of his release today and the start of his new adventure".
Raphael II is one of a number of turtles who have been successfully rehabilitated at uShaka Sea World since the beginning of January 2011.