Our veterinarian, Dr Claire Petros, arrived in the Maldives in November, becoming the first and only sea turtle veterinarian in the country!
Greetings from the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre in Dhuni Kolhu. We have had an extremely eventful three months, from arrival in mid-November to the opening ceremony at the beginning of February!
As part of Claire’s training, she was introduced to the local school in Hithadhoo, where thirty or so children were eager to learn about what was happening on their neighbouring island. This partnership is one that will greatly benefit the community of Hithadhoo, as we will set up a close relationship with the school, which will include regular presentations and teaching opportunities. We will also have school trips to the centre, so the children can meet the patients, and learn a little more about how they are treated with veterinary medicine.
By December, Claire had designed the layout of the operation room and ordered the larger equipment, such as the operation table, lamp, scales and microscopes. This equipment will enable local children to learn about parasites and blood samples on their visits to the centre.
Just after Christmas, an Olive Ridley was found by guests out on a jet ski tour. The turtle was affectionately named Pauline by the girl who rescued her. Pauline was floating with netting wrapped around her neck. Upon further investigation, this poor turtle had tried to free herself from the net by swallowing the majority of it! Once the 25 cm long net was pulled free and de-leeched, she was taken to our tanks to establish her swimming and diving capabilities. She passed with flying colours and looked so relieved to be free from the net, so we released her later that day. Our first successful release!