18 Feb North the Turtle
On the morning of Tuesday, 18 February, a team from Durban Metro Search and Rescue and Ezemvelo Kwa-Zulu Natal Wildlife staff rescued an injured loggerhead turtle from the breakwaters off North Pier and brought her to uShaka Sea World.
She was clearly compromised and in desperate need of medical attention as her left front flipper was entangled in fishing line.
The resultant constriction had cut off the blood supply to her entire flipper resulting in gangrene. “The complications of this injury could be very severe, to the extent that the likelihood of the animal dying was very high,” said Dr Francois Lampen.
Sadly the flipper is so compromised that the only recourse is amputation. Once North is strong and stable enough, Dr. Francois Lampen with the capable assistance of the uShaka Sea World animal health team will perform the surgery. Clearly, there are serious risks associated with such an invasive surgery, especially as this will be done under general anesthesia, but the team is confident that she should make a good recovery. Long-term prospects will need further considerations.
“As seen from the story, discarded fishing line does not biodegrade and can lead to the death of many marine animals over time. If you see fishing line on the beach or in the water, please remove it. We can’t save North’s flipper but we can prevent similar injuries to other animals” said Jone Porter the Director for uShaka Sea World Education.