Turtle Patient 130: Harry, Adult Male Hawksbill
Harry was found floating amongst a big pile of rubbish at a resort in the Alif Alif Atoll. He didn’t appear to have any external wounds, but he was floating with his back end up, very lethargic and didn’t have the strength to swim.
Intake Date: 20 December 2020
Patient Number: 130
Rescue Location: Alif Alif Atoll
Reason: Found floating
Transport Method: Seaplane + supply boat
Status: Released 17 March 2021
Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Length: 69.9 cm
Weight: 26.8 kg
Harry has kindly been adopted for Harry by Carol Austen, for Kate by Snack Squad, for Serena by Craig, by Ida Mazza, Quoc Tu, for Ana by Michael, by Hara, Frank Schneidler, Holly Messic, Chantal Baker for Jennifer by Nathan, for Dr Minny by Jazz Walker, for Sophie by Sebastian, for Dana by Lubos Fistr, and for Finnley by Nicole & Dajana.
Harry undertook a long journey to get to us at the Rescue Centre, involving 2 speedboats and a supply boat over 48hrs due to bad weather. He finally made it on the 20th of December. He will be undergoing a variety of tests to determine the cause of his unusual presentation. He is truly very special, being an adult male of a critically endangered species!
28 December 2020
Harry is still very unwell. He has been having daily fluid therapy to support him while he isn’t eating. He has also had a lot of x-rays, as well as something called a contrast study, where he was tube fed liquid that shows up on x-ray, so we can try and track if he has a blockage. He has remained in a critical condition, mainly floating in his tank without the energy to move. The gas in his intestines is moving through, but he seems disproportionately sick. Anaesthetic at this stage would be very risky, so we are attempting to medically manage him and avoid exploratory surgery at this stage.
11 January 2021
Harry has been showing very small signs of improvement, but it is still quite touch and go. He won’t eat on his own yet and he spends a lot of the day very lethargic, but with increasing bouts of activity compared to before. He has been having repeated X-rays every 48hrs to assess the gas and contrast medium movement through his guts. Things do appear to be moving around, but it is quite slow. We continue to support him with fluids, pain relief and antibiotics, while intermittently popping pieces of squid in his mouth to encourage his appetite, but we aren’t expecting any miracles yet.
17 January 2021
Harry is still critical; he has shown small improvements in his demeanor but will still not eat. He is scheduled for surgery this week to insert a feeding tube and investigate what is going on with his gastrointestinal system, as we are concerned that after 4 weeks of minimal improvement, we have a blockage that won’t move with medical therapy alone.
24 January 2021
Harry has had two surgical procedures, one to investigate his abnormal digestive system, and another to insert a feeding tube through his oesophagus and down into his stomach. The first procedure didn’t reveal any blockages as far as we were able to examine, which was great news. We are now feeding him blended fish via his tube twice a day and he does seem marginally brighter – but it is very early days. We will continue supportive care rather than targeted therapy, as the cause of his issues are still unclear. We are lucky to have the person who first found Harry, returning as a volunteer on the 31st of January!
31 January 2021
Harry has been having his twice a day feeding through the tube and he definitely does appear marginally brighter. We see him swimming around a little more. It is still early days though and progress is slow. We are monitoring closely for when he passes faeces and for if he has any interest in taking food via his mouth.
7 February 2021
Harry has had the feeding tube in now since the 21st of January and for the first time this week he not only dived, but rested and stayed on the bottom of the tank! This was cause for massive celebration, it means he is feeling better for sure. Now he still spends a lot of time quite lethargic, but things are always slow with these guys so we’re happy with the progress we are seeing. He is starting to pass more normal faeces now more regularly.
23 February 2021
Harry moved to big tank on Monday and was seen to dive really well. We even took him out swimming on the reef on Tuesday and he did an incredible job, swam like a proper turtle! We just need him to eat on his own!
15 March 2021
Harry has gone from strength to strength. Based on his progress and normal turtle behaviour (resting on the bottom, swimming around, being very feisty when handled), the decision was made to remove his feeding tube (which happened on Sunday) and he is due to be released Wednesday 17th! This is so exciting after he spent so long being so ill.
17 March 2021
Harry was successfully released from a boat full of well wishers. He did not hesitate and dived straight down and swam towards the reef.