Turtle Patient 87: Azura, Adult Female Olive Ridley
Azura was found by Dharavandhoo island in Baa Atoll in April 2019 and we collected her by speedboat.
Intake Date: 2 April 2019
Patient Number: 87
Rescue Location: Baa Atoll
Reason: Found entangled, flipper infection
Transport Method: Speedboat
Status: Current patient
Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Length: 60.5 cm
Weight: 17.9 kg
Azura has kindly been adopted by Kristina Feigl, by Linda, by Sandro and Murielle Wiedmer, Silke Fuchs, Alfiya Sattarova, Axelle Defossez, for Preston by Scott Lea, by Michelle, Polly Westley, Ursula Simacek, for Katy by Sally, for Elena by Nicole Wissler, by Sassan Ahsani, by the Saywhat Bottle Team, by Rebeca, Glen & Louis Austin, for Kim by Angela, by John Cappeluti, Gail Ruth Tonnessen and by Tangled Seas, Trinidad Serna, Winnie Barron, for Adam by Serena Dawson, by Sue Hopkinson, for Reid, for Regina by Andy Threapleton, by Shasta Bos, for Caitlin by Diane & Paul, by Katie, Renan Massini de Melo, for Landon by Kara Jones, by Charlotte, Conner Haynes, by Benoit Herault, Julie Holland, by Dani & Dirk, for Lyssa by Suzanne & Beverly, for Naima by Nashia and by Uschi & Michi.
Azura had a very severely infected front flipper after being entangled in a ghost net. She needed an amputation and responded well to treatment. The infection ran deep into her shoulder. She has lost most of the tissue in that area, but despite this, we have managed to treat the infection to stop it spreading further.
The deep wound in her shoulder has now healed completely and her shoulder looks fantastic compared to when she first came in.
20 July 2019
Azura also had some proliferative tissue, called proud flesh, on her nose, which occurred due to trauma to the area. Vet Jackie performed surgery to remove this mass; Azura recovered well and her nose healed up fast. She was quickly back to her usual self, minus the mass, which means her nostrils are no longer at risk of obstruction.
27 July 2019
Azura remains buoyant and continues to try to launch herself at her food. However, she loves feeding time and eats enthusiastically. We had to get new long tongs so our hands could be far away from her mouth when we feed her. We are also encouraging her to eat under water and she has made some progress on that, but still occasionally misses a food item. She watches it sink to the bottom of the tank whilst looking longingly at it, not managing to dive for it. Don’t worry, we always retrieve it for her!
3 August 2019
Azura is still eating well below the water line, however, she rushes at her food and occasionally drops one. The final scab from her shell injury has fallen off and it is now healing in well.
10 August 2019
Azura has been moved to the other side of the large tank to encourage her to dive. She has actually been an angel this week, not trying to fight Thomas through the barrier, and enjoying the bigger space.
17 August 2019
Azura enjoyed the space in the large tank this week. She is still buoyant with not much of a change. Her appetite is great, and we are monitoring her nose lesion which may be getting slightly larger. Fingers crossed it doesn’t grow any more.
26 August 2019
Azura’s bone lesion is no longer showing active infection, so she has stopped antibiotic treatment. Her nose mass appears to be growing back, however. It is not as large as the first time, but we will continue to assess whether it requires another surgery.
2 September 2019
Azura has been well this week. However, she is still floating quite high in the water and cannot dive, even though she wants to! Her appetite is ravenous and the volunteers really need to watch their fingers around her.
11 September 2019
Azura has had a good week. She is still eating well. We are monitoring her nose mass which has grown back, but is not as large as last time. It may require more surgery down the track. She is still buoyant. She also had an x-ray this week to be sure her osteomyelitis lesion is still stable and it is – which is fabulous.
23 September 2019
Azura is doing well. She is as feisty as always and food is still the most important thing on her mind. She enjoyed her fish-cicle frozen enrichment this week. Although she is still buoyant, she was seen trying to dive, so she certainly isn’t giving up on the dream of making it to the bottom!
1 October 2019
Azura is still buoyant this week. She is not a fan of the floating ball and got bored with it fairly quickly. Her appetite is great and we are waiting for the results regarding the mass on her nose.
7 October 2019
Azura has been trying to dive this week but is still buoyant. When Thomas leaves us, she will move to the big tank where she will have more space to practice. She also needs a touch up surgery on her nose mass. Our Visiting Vet Dr. Francesco brought us some special medication to hopefully keep it under control!
14 October 2019
Azura had her touch up nose surgery this week and we are applying a new medication to hopefully keep the mass from recurring. She is being moved this week to our new Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at One and Only Reethi Rah to finish her recuperation. She will be able to practice her diving and will be well cared for by our resident Sea Turtle Biologist Laura.
16 October 2019
Azura was successfully transferred to her new home at One & Only Reethi Rah via sea plane and speedboat. She has settled in well.
13 November 2019
Azura has been settling in well at One & Only, she has been enjoying her ocean swims to provide some mental stimulation during her rehabilitation and loves to play with the submerged buoys in the tank that our Sea Turtle Biologist made as enrichment.
Dr Jackie Reed also recently visited for a check up of Azura. She took a physical examination and unfortunately her bone infection has flared up again. She will therefore be put on a course of antibiotics and given a lot of rest to recover. Fortunately she has a lovely big tank all to herself where she will receive lots of yummy fresh seafood and TLC at One & Only Reethi Rah.
18 November 2019
Azura is recovering nicely from her bone infection. The swelling of her flipper has gone down significantly since she has been on antibiotics, so we will shortly be taking off her anti inflammatory medication and continue her course of antibiotics. To treat this poorly girl, our dive team brought her back a jellyfish; she was very interested and enjoyed her special treat. This will also aid with mental stimulation and enrichment.
25 November 2019
Azura is still recovering from her buoyancy syndrome and we are happy that she is also recovering well from her bone infection in her remaining flipper. She is still on antibiotics but is showing good progress with using her front flipper to swim. Azura will start to go back out for weekly ocean swims with our Sea Turtle Biologist now that she is showing good recovery. Azura also enjoyed her spa day where she was given a good scrub due to algae build up.
13 January 2020
Azura has been making a lot of progress with her buoyancy syndrome. She has also finished her antibiotic course for her bone infection in her flipper. Since her recovery, she has been showing significant improvement with her diving on our lagoon swims, and hopefully she will start to dive more frequently in her tank.
20 January 2020
Azura has a really healthy appetite and is showing more and more progress with her diving during our lagoon sessions. To keep her motivated to dive in her tank, we attach food to a submerged buoy which she has to “hunt”. And she really goes for it!
28 January 2020
Azura is still showing steady progress with her diving. We have lowered her submerged buoy as she was reaching the previous level with ease. To monitor her health, we also weigh her weekly. She is maintaining a constant weight of 24.4 kg and looking really healthy! She was taken out for a swim, but much like people, it just wasn’t her day and she wasn’t in the mood to dive too much. Azura is a real character and really showed her diva side, but we still love her. She is still extremely excited and motivated by food, so to show how much we care, our chef prepared lobster for her the other day too.
3 February 2020
Azura is still practicing her diving in the tank. She has been working hard to reach her submerged buoy and she is able to dive down to 41 cm so far. We are lowering it every couple of days to try and motivate her to dive more often. Azura enjoyed her last lagoon session with seeing all the fish; she was not in the mood to dive but enjoyed a different scenery.
10 February 2020
Azura has been enjoying all the yummy seafood particularly the fresh prawns the chefs have been specially providing for her. She is much more motivated to dive when we attach food (particularly prawns) to her buoy, so every few days we lower it to make her dove deeper. The weather has not been suitable to go out for a lagoon swim, but once it calms down, Azura will enjoy being in the sea with all the fish which can provide some mental stimulation in captivity.
24 February 2020
Azura has been a little less of a diva lately. She was also very happy to go out on a lagoon swim and dived down 6 times! She dived deeper than we have observed before, so this is great news and we hope that she will continue to make more progress. She is proving to be very popular with everyone at the resort and we love her unique and sassy personality!
2 March 2020
Azura is getting more motivated to dive in her tank, but only if prawns or lobster are involved… Definitely a girl that enjoys the finer things in life! However, her healthy appetite and interest in diving is great to see, and gives us hope that she will eventually improve.
6 April 2020
Azura is still working on her buoyancy; she seems to get lower in the water and is managing to dive deeper for her food. She is a real favourite of ours, especially our turtle biologists (but don’t tell Eve!!). It is great to see Azura showing gradual improvement with her buoyancy and still having a very healthy appetite.
13 April 2020
Azura has been enjoying more lagoon swims to focus on improving her buoyancy and was treated to a yummy iceblock full of her favourite seafood this week!
20 April 2020
Azura is showing more interest in trying to dive down in the tank by herself without being prompted with food. This is good progress for her as she can be a little bit lazy! We hope she will continue to try to dive more.
18 May 2020
Azura is beeing treated like a queen these days as she is lavished with her favourite seafood, including crab and lobster! She will especially push herself to dive for these – which is great to see! Since the weather has been too rough we haven’t managed to take her out for a swim, but look forward to seeing how much she has progressed with diving when it is safe to do so.
22 June 2020
Azura is still buoyant but has enjoyed her lagoon swims when we have been able to go out as the weather has been a little rough recently. However, she is still highly motivated to dive for food! Especially for prawns and lobsters. We hope she will keep making steady progress.
23 July 2020
Due to the temporary closing of our Rehabilitation Centre at One & Only Reethi Rah, we relocated Azura back to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu on 11 July 2020. Our Sea Turtle Biologist, Laura, transported Azura, and picke up our new patient Coral on the way, to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre by speed boat – a 4 hour round trip.
Azura has settled in well back at the Marine Turtle Rescue Center – it is nice to have her back, but we would have preferred to release her. Unfortunately, she is still not diving well enough to survive in the wild.
27 September 2020
After her return to the Rescue Centre in Baa Atoll from the Rehabilitation Centre at One and Only Reethi Rah in North Malé Atoll, Azura has settled in well to life back at Coco Palm. She is still buoyant but she definitely makes a concerted effort.
Although there hasn’t been much change, we feel the trend is in the right direction. She dived down to 2.5 metres on a recent sea swim! We have collected some crabs for her which she absolutely loves, and she tries to dive a little when she goes to catch them! She has some x-rays scheduled for this week to re-assess her ongoing buoyancy issues.
4 October 2020
Azura had a great sea swim this week where she managed to get down to a recorded 2.7m. She managed to maintain that depth for about 5 or so seconds before she let herself float up. We are going to be taking her out as often as we are able, so likely every day or every 2 days. She is going again today. She has very little motivation to dive in the tank despite our variety of ingenious food holding contraptions but we will continue to put her through her paces.
10 October 2020
We are taking Azura out to swim every 2-3 days and she has had an amazing week. Jinaad, our intern, and Dr Minnie took her out on the 6th and the current was strong, but she really tried even though they were getting blown round the west of the island where it is really shallow and had to bring her in early. On the 8th October she dived to 7m with a dive time of 2.5 minutes – far deeper and far longer than she ever has dived before. She did that twice to the same depth and for the same time. This is the first time that she has stayed comfortably at the bottom without floating back up quickly, so it was amazing to see. We hope she will continue to make that kind of progress.
1 November 2020
Due to the choppy sea conditions lately, Azura hasn’t been trying to dive as much as she usually does on our sea swims. Hopefully we will have better sea conditions moving into next week and get her back on her amazing diving streaks! She is otherwise well, eating heartily as usual and always very active in her tank. The waterline on her carapace is getting higher, meaning she is sitting a little lower in the water which is a good sign.
8 November 2020
We started to notice that, on the last few sea swims, despite very calm waters, Azura was not attempting to dive and that it was because of her flipper, not because of her buoyancy issues. This has only recently developed, as she recently managed an amazing 7 meter dive. We repeated x-rays on and unfortunately found evidence of major degradation of her elbow joint – likely due to an infection. She has been started on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and is already showing signs of improvement.
One morning this week we discovered something a little odd in Azura’s faeces: over night she had passed a plastic bottle cap! The shocking part is that Azura has been with us for more than a year and she has not been exposed to any plastic like this. This probably means that the bottle cap has been in her intestines for over a year before she managed to pass it. Thankfully she was not showing any clinical signs associated with the ingestion of a foreign object, but it could have caused some serious damage. Azura was lucky, but many marine creatures who ingest plastic or other foreign objects are not so lucky.
16 November 2020
Azura has shown a great response to her medication, some anti-inflammatories and some antibiotics, which she is on every 48hrs. She is bright and active and next week we will take her back on sea swims and get her out using that flipper properly again! Fingers crossed we see some great dive attempts again.
23 November 2020
Azura has responded really well to her medication and is using her flipper much better. We haven’t managed a sea swim though, as the weather has been pretty stormy for most of this week. We will try as soon as we can. We are confident that she will be attempting to dive again.
30 November 2020
Azura has been back out sea swimming this week now that she is showing a great response to the medication. On the 23rd, there were no major achievements but she was at least trying to dive again – which was encouraging. Another sea swim on the 29th surprised us when she dived down straight away and swam underwater for about 100m! Only at a depth of about 1.5m but still very encouraging.
7 December 2020
Azura is back on top form, diving better on her sea swims, eating as well as always and generally very bright and active around the big tank, which we keep her in most of the time now. She is soon to finish her medication course too.
13 December 2020
Azura is doing really well. We haven’t managed any more sea swims, but she eagerly zooms around her tank. We look forward to taking her out this coming week. She has stopped her anti-inflammatory injection and just has a few more antibiotic doses to go before she has finished the course and we will have hopefully sorted out her infection.
28 December 2020
Azura has been doing really well. She has been off antibiotics now since the 20th of December and the use of her flipper remains the same so that’s great – she seems back to normal. She needs one more repeat x-ray, just to compare, but we are happy we seem to have got on top of her infection. Azura needs to go swimming again but with terrible weather last week it has not been possible. She’s enjoying the big tank in the meantime.
11 January 2021
Azura had a sea swim this week; it has been quite a while since she’s been out so she was a bit unsure and took a while to get going. When she finally did, she attempted a few dives but nothing spectacular. She did seem to be using her flipper well though, so hopefully we aren’t seeing any recurrence of her elbow issue after 6 weeks of antibiotics.
17 January 2021
Azura had a follow up X-ray of her elbow this week, which shows that her bone is looking good. There are no signs that the infection is still active. She has been off antibiotics for quite a few weeks now, and the next step is rigorous reintroduction to sea swims – we really want her to be released in the near-ish future! We know she can do it, she just needs to get used to it again!!
24 January 2021
Unfortunately, Azura still hasn’t been out for a swim, but that will be the plan for this coming week! We are committed to getting her diving now that her elbow is sorted. She continues to be a favourite at the centre for her keenness to be where everyone is by the side of her tank.
31 January 2021
Azura had a repeat blood sample on the 29th to assess for ongoing signs of infection in her elbow. Although via x-ray it looks stable and she is using it, she has been very lackluster on sea swims so there is a concern she is still dealing with a problem. We have ordered anti fungal medication to start her on, as often these joint infections can have a fungal component.
7 February 2021
Azura has been in a medium tank this week but she still swims around pretty well, she is using her flipper well but her lacklustre efforts on sea swims have been worrying us. We are awaiting the arrival of some new medication to get her started in case her elbow problem is still ongoing.
23 February 2021
Azura has been started on an anti-fungal treatment that will go on for 8 weeks. We will swim her in the meantime to try and get her diving properly again.
7 March 2021
Azura is now being fed from floating buoys to encourage her to dive and she is doing well. We are happy with how she is progressing on her medications for her elbow.
15 March 2021
Azura continues to improve on her medication and we are still making her dive for her food as much as possible. When we get a chance, we want to take her out on a sea swim to see what she can do!
22 March 2021
Azura is doing really well with her new medication and we are very happy with her progress. We are going to start her on an intensive sea swim regime to get her back up to speed.
29 March 2021
Azura had an amazing sea swim on the 23rd, where she reached a depth of 8m for about 5 minutes. She looked very comfortable at that depth, and was foraging and generally looking good! She had 2 subsequent sea swims in the week and, unfortunately, didn’t replicate it. We are therefore lengthening the times between sea swims, as she is obviously very unfit and will need time to rest in between. We are confident she will continue to do well!
4 April 2021
Azura is still going out on regular sea swims but has variable performance each time; we are trying to work out the perfect ratio of swims to rest days. She continues on her medication for her elbow.