Aquarium foundation raises funds for turtle hospital

A fund-raising event, called One Blue Heart, was held at the One&Only in aid of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre.

A blue-carpet gala event, called One Blue Heart, held at the One&Only at the Waterfront on Thursday February 16, raised about R500 000 in aid of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre.

The event was centred on the importance of zero-waste, conscious fashion and art, and showcasing sustainability, as well as to raise funds to upgrade the Turtle Conservation Centre and turn it into a turtle hospital.

Dylan McGarry, Aaniyah Omardien, Crystal Birch, Cleo Droomer and Jackie May Twig in front of Abundance – The crocheted coral reef created by Woodstock Art Reef Project.

The evening, curated by environmental agency The Good Machine, was dedicated to raising funds for the centre’s long-term vision of expanding its facility to include a stand-alone multimillion rand wildlife hospital.

“I am motivated by the vision of the Turtle Conservation Centre. It will be a centre of learning, an example of rehabilitation excellence and an embodiment of hope. One Blue Heart was a fundamental step forward towards making our dream come to life,” said Talitha Noble, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation Turtle Conservation Centre manager.

Wandi Jonga at the One Blue Heart event wearing a dress featuring a print of Bob the Turtle’s artwork.

Art by Wilson Ngoni, Dylan McGarry, Robert Rorich, the artist collective Ardmore, Janet Osmond, Elke Knabel as well as turtle ambassador Bob the Turtle were on show and on sale for guests.

Into the Blue by Bob the Turtle, alongside An Ode to Bob by Wilson Ngoni.

The fundraising aim of the night was an auction, offering the guests an opportunity to bid on selected pieces.

Since the inception of the Two Oceans Aquarium foundation in 2018, they have rehabilitated and released over 1000 turtles – more than half of these have been in the last four years under the care of the Two Ocean Aquarium Foundation Turtle Conservation Centre.

A leatherback hatchling receiving treatment at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s Turtle Conservation Centre.

Today, all seven species of sea turtles are endangered or critically endangered as a result of human activities. Plastic pollution in the ocean is one of the biggest threats facing all sea turtles.

Meanwhile, the Turtle Rescue Network along the coast – people actively looking out for stranded and injured turtles and bringing them to the Turtle Conservation Centre for help – has expanded significantly, and due to this public initiative, the centre has become overwhelmed with the number of turtles needing care.

The long-term vision is to build a stand-alone, state-of-the-art facility – a showcase of world class turtle rehabilitation.

This facility in the V&A Waterfront will not only provide increased space for turtle rehabilitation but will also enable the public to witness first-hand the rehabilitation efforts, to learn more about turtles and the dangers they face, and to meet some of the Ambassadors of Hope.

At the event, Ann Lamont, chairperson of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, said: “The reason this evening is about zero waste is because we do not only want to work at the end result – turtles plastic ingestion and other human caused injury. It is fundamental to work at the system and the consciousness that we all have.”

The communications manager at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Heather Wares, said while they have begun planning the new facility, which has a five-year time frame, they were still in the initial planning stages and anticipated being ready to showcase the concept by the end of the year.

To find out how you can donate to the cause, visit