Friday, 3 January 2014

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) stranding near Swakopmund

By Henri Raaitjies - Sept 2013

Reported on Sunday October 27 by Francois Busch as a possible stranded, the stranding team headed out to inspect the turtle. The animal was at first sight an old individual covered in lots of seaweed growth, but still alive. It didn’t respond much and didn’t appear capable to return to sea on its own strength. The turtle was measured and a skin sample was taken.

The sex of sea turtles can be determined by the tail length. Females have short tails, while male turtles have a larger and more muscular tail, which extends well out the carapace. As can be seen in the photos, we concluded our individual to be female.

After the measurements it was time for action. Actions that were considered include:
-       returning the animal to sea, but he would probably not have enough energy to survive. Rehab is not really an option in Namibia with only the very small Swakopmund aquarium available.
-        ‘least action is least harm’ approach; the animal was right on the edge of the tide line, so close enough to get back into the sea under its own power if if it could. A return the next day to check up on it (and perform a more detailed necropsy if it had died).

The latter option was chosen, and the turtle was left on the beach. Two days later, on Wednesday October 30, the animal had disappeared, leaving the question on its cause of stranding unanswered – we hope it managed to return to the sea under it’s own strength, but it may have died and been washed away.

1 comment:

louisette said...

I do'nt say that the sex of sea turtles can be determined by the tail length with a short tails for females.