How does a sea turtle make it onto the roof of a building, you ask?
No one wakes up in the morning thinking that today will be the day that they become a hero to a turtle. This was definitely not what Marius Scholtz from Cape Town expected when he went to work in St Francis Bay recently.
What happened that day resulted in the most incredible sea turtle rescue story which took place amidst a nationwide lockdown.
Scholtz, who works for Ozone Marine Communications, was called out to install a base radio for Balobi, a company in St Francis Bay.
“Part of the base radio installation required an antenna to be installed on top of the roof, which was two storeys high. I climbed up onto the roof and was looking for a path for the cabling when I saw what I first thought was a little toy sea turtle. It was lying on top of the roof in the sun. Then I saw its head move. I realised it wasn’t a toy but a live animal.”
One of the workers at Balobi retrieved the little turtle and brought it to Scholtz.
“I went down and got an old ice cream container. I scooped sea water in and put the turtle in the water. He was very dehydrated. He didn’t give up. He kept moving his head and I noticed his left front flipper had a big chunk out of it on the tip. The only thing I could surmise is that he was dropped onto the roof by a seagull or some bird.”
Slowly the little guy started to move his flippers, although he remained lethargic. Scholtz Googled and used the information he got from the Two Oceans Aquarium website on how to care for a sea turtle. He got hold of someone who instructed him what to do to keep the sea turtle alive.
The little turtle, aptly named Roofus, was put into a freshwater bath for thirty minutes. Thereafter, he showed more life and enthusiasm to survive.
“At that point, I dried him and kept him in a box as instructed. I closed that up and left him, and before I went to bed I gave him another thirty-minute bath, dabbed him dry ever so gently, put him in his box and went to sleep.”
The next morning, little Roofus didn’t respond.
“I got a big fright. He was just laying motionless, even though I stroked the top of his shell at the back. And then, all of a sudden, he did, but [he was] extremely lethargic, almost worse than the day before. So, I remembered these guys sleep a lot. Obviously he’d had quite an eventful day prior and he had to recoup and was in a deep sleep.”
Roofus started waking up slowly and then moved around. He was given another 30-minute freshwater bath.
“I dabbed him dry again and then set off to Port Elizabeth where he was handed over at the Bayworld Aquarium. Hopefully he will recover and one day be released back into the wild. That is my hope for him.”
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