Meet Chouchou, A Young Ghost Net Victim
Chouchou is a juvenile Olive ridley turtle who was found entangled in ghost gear and plastic on a reef near Constance Moofushi Resort in Ari Atoll.
Intake Date: 28th August 2018
Length: 51 cm
Status: Released 15th October 2018
When Chouchou was found by the Constance Moofushi Dive Team, both her left flippers were trapped in the ghost net. The net itself was caught on corals in shallow water. Chouchou was badly injured: the net had nearly cut through one of her front flippers. In addition, she had a wound on one of her back flippers.
When she arrived at the Rescue Centre, Chouchou was too weak to undergo full anesthesia, which is required to amputate a flipper. Instead we performed a small surgery to remove her front flipper, leaving the bone in tact. After she had recovered for a few days, we performed a second surgery to remove the remaining stump in order to prevent an infection tracking up from her wound.
Chouchou failed to recover normally from the anesthesia after the second surgery. She became very lifeless and lost her normal reflexes and ability to move. Six hours after the surgery was complete, our vets had to start breathing for her and monitor her heart using a Doppler machine. When her heart rate continued to decline, they gave her adrenaline.
For five hours our vets continued to help her breathe, as well as pinching and tickling her tail to stimulate cloacal reflex, before she finally showed small signs of movement. That was a huge relief! However, she was still not breathing on her own. Breathing assistance continued through the night until, finally, 24 hours after the surgery, she started breathing on her own.
By the evening she was moving around and holding her head up. The next morning we could finally put her back in the tank!
Miraculously, Chouchou made a full recovery. Her two wounds healed perfectly and she lost her buoyancy. When we found her resting at the bottom of the tank one morning, we new she was ready to go back home.
Chouchou’s release was delayed a little due to bad weather, but on the 15th October we were finally able to release her back into the big blue.