Green Turtle mortality, Cove Rock, East London

Sadly the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) pictured below was fatally wounded (probably by a propellor) and washed ashore along the east coast, near Cove Rock. It is not known whether is was alive at the time of the stranding.

Picture: Pierre Rensburg

Picture: Pierre Rensburg

Green Turtles are slow growing taking as long 20-50 years to mature. They have been known to live for more than 100 years. They spend the major portion of their lives diving and being great travellers can cover distances of thousands of kilometers per year. Green Turtles sometimes rest up in a state of dormancy on the ocean floor.

It has been reported in previous posts that turtle activity has increased along the east coast in recent years, with more nesting sites (Loggerhead Turtles) being reported. This is encouraging.

The photograph below clearly illustrates the damaged carapace on the underside of the animal. The Green Turtle is a non-breeding resident along the South African shores. One of the larger islands where Green Turtles nest is Europa Island (a 28 km² low-lying tropical island in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique).

Picture: Pierre Rensburg

Picture: Pierre Rensburg

About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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