Maryke Mussen, the former CEO of The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation (a Non-Profit and Public Benefit Organisation), loves sea turtles and has a lot of favourites. One of these is Yoshi, the world-famous travelling sea turtle she calls the GOAT, Greatest Of All Times. What is incredible about Yoshi is that she is a world record holder. Before Yoshi’s journey, there was no record of a loggerhead sea turtle travelling from Africa to Australia. When Yoshi arrived in Australia she was received with open arms. They were thrilled and adopted her immediately. Yoshi was tracked for three years and she travelled 40,000 kilometres, a vast distance. Following the journeys of sea turtles shows why ocean conservation is so important.
Sea turtles are amazing navigators, highlighting perfectly why it’s so important to focus on transboundary conservation efforts. Sea turtles do not recognise country borders, freely crossing from one ocean into another because for them it is simply one, big world of sea! There are no borders. If the nesting sites weren’t protected in Mozambique, there might not be any loggerhead or leatherbacks travelling along the African coastline or perhaps in the rest of the world.
Sea turtles navigate the oceans using various methods. During the very early stage, when a hatchling turtle first enters the sea, it uses the direction of the waves for orientation, usually swimming directly perpendicular to the waves to direct it seaward and away from the shore. Juvenile turtles use the orbital movement of the waves, most likely detected with the inner ear. Various research have shown that part of the sea turtles’ navigation system in the open ocean is the earth’s magnetic field. Depending on the specific location on earth, the magnetic field has a specific inclination and intensity which sea turtles seem to be able to sense. And they change swimming direction accordingly.
Peace Parks Foundation works to establish more transboundary and transfrontier parks, whether it be on land or at sea.