All Turtle Patients

Turtle Patient 44: Heidi, Adult Male Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Heidi in his tank. Image.
Heidi in his tank.

Heidi was found entangled in a big ghost net at Dropped Pin, near Laccadive Sea, in South Malé Atoll, in April 2018. We initially though Heidi was a she, but later realised Heidi is a male! Heidi is a double flipper amputee and cannot be released into the wild.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 21st April 2018
Patient Number: 44
Rescue Location: South Malé Atoll
Reason: Found entangled
Transport Method: Speedboat & Seaplane
Status: Current patient

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Male
Age: Adult
Length: 65 cm
Weight: 27 kg

Heidi has kindly been adopted by Eva-Maria Heinemann, Dorota Summers, Anita Lehmeier, for Stephanie by Paul Thomson, for Robin by Iris Weiskopf, by Elena Rempel, Oliver Krumnak, Simon Snell, for Boris by Tanja Zwetkoff, for Sara by Audrey, for Ellie-May by Bobby & Emily, for Sven by Mimie Reed, by Gabi, Gill Wheeldon, Kathleen Rothery, Lauren, Alexandra Pulido, Adrianna, Molly, Gertia Cazemier, by Morgan, Diane, Elsa, Heidi Cardona, Thomas Brockhausen, Stephanie Ingrassia, Sherry Taylor, Tangled Seas, for Sonja by Madeleine, for Jarron by Angelica Layton, by Rachel & Adam Lloyd, Kathleen, by Laura L Benigni, for Lily by Katy, for the Muga Family by Kathleen Connell, by Rachel, Silvi Bell, Donielle Deitz, Karen, Jillian, Anett Rejto, for Gøril by Marianne, by Roberta Yingling, Kim, Paul, Andrea Robiné, Samuel Hanek, Terence van Lenten, for Myriam by Michelle Caparrelli, for Bia by Raffi, by Gregor Möbius & Marcus Meyer, Sheryl Martinig, Gareth, Geoff Poyer, Lou Ann Sy, Dmitri Alexandrov, Andreina E Plata Smeraldi, Mirjam, Carol Fickinger, for Josette by Susan Hurwitz Arneson, by John Pennell, Nathalie Popovic, Deborah, and by Noah Blazyca.

Heidi’s Story

Heidi was taken overnight to Como Cocoa Island in South Male atoll before she was transferred to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre. She was found with deep older wounds (cuts from ghost gear) to both front flippers; her humeral bones were visible and the muscles severed. Despite this, she was able to move her front flippers.

After stitching her up, we bandaged Heidi’s flippers to prevent movement and allow her flipper to heal. A couple of days after her initial treatment, she was quite active again and was diving to the bottom of her tank. It was therefore very difficult to keep her bandages in place.

Unfortunately, her injuries seems to have compromised the blood supply to her front left flipper and it started peeling off. Eventually we had to amputate.

Heidi’s remaining flipper had also suffered extensive muscle, nerve and blood vessel damage, so it is not functional. However, she is very good at swimming with her back flippers only. She can even dive! She just had her first swimming lesson in the ocean and did really well, swimming fast and diving.

Heidi continues to eat well and is active in our tanks, but she is still not using her front flipper. With the arrival of our new X-ray machine we are now able to gain more information from our turtles. We initially thought her problem was in her elbow, but it turns out it is in her shoulder joint. She also has calcium deposits in the muscle. Both these things give her a bad prognosis for regaining use of her front flipper and we will likely have to re-home her. Heidi appears healthy other than her problem front flipper.

Heidi is becoming quite the acrobat! Despite only having her back flippers, she is quite capable and agile at feeding time and often puts on a display of turning upside down and spinning around to catch pieces of fish.

13 July 2019
Heidi continues to do well but we have had to put her on a diet as she is getting a little bit overweight!  She does love her food, so when we feed her, we make sure she gets exercise swimming after her meal. 

20 July 2019
During a storm this week, part of the canopy above Heidi’s tank fell into the tank and Heidi had a bit of a shock!  She wasn’t quite sure what to make of it and looked desperately at Vet Jackie for help first thing in the morning.  Vet Jackie rescued her from the section of tarp and Heidi was happy again.

27 July 2019
We have now moved Heidi into the large tank to encourage her to exercise more. She is enjoying the space and is certainly happily moving around. The volunteers accidentally fed her another turtles portion of food this week. She was super happy to receive the extra food but for the rest of the week we made her exercise for her food to work off the calories!

Heidi has so many fans at the Rescue Centre;  guests come to visit her daily. She loves people and is curious about what is going on. Feeding time is still her favourite. We will be coming up with enrichment ideas to keep her mind busy.   

3 August 2019
Heidi is our most content patient.  She is happy wherever she is moved and never complains, unlike Lucky.  She lost weight this week on her diet.  Yay Heidi.

10 August 2019
Heidi has had a tank change to the rear of the centre just for some different scenery. She can look into the forest there.  She is still being herself and eating well and she wishes she was not on a diet.

17 August 2019
Heidi is still adorable Heidi. The new volunteers have fallen in love with her this week. She has managed to lose a little weight on her diet and we cut her meal portion up into many little pieces so she feels like she is getting more. This also makes her exercise for her food.

26 August 2019
Heidi is our most obliging patient and is quite happy to be moved around to different tanks; there has been a bit of shuffling this week. She continues to do well.

2 September 2019
Heidi has been well this week. She is still disappointed that she is on a diet and would probably eat all the fish in the fish bucket if she was given the chance! The diet is paying off with some weight loss this week. Go Heidi!

11 September 2019
Heidi has been fed fish ice blocks this week. Sea turtles like to engage with their food and work out how to get it, so this should keep her mind active! And Heidi might actually be a he! Our current Visiting Vet, who has a substantial amount of knowledge in turtle reproduction, thinks she may be a male after giving her a thorough ultrasound. So, we will now be saying “he” instead of “she”…

23 September 2019
Heidi has been a hit with the guests lately. He has enjoyed his fish-cicles and eats with great gusto. Out of all the turtle patients, we are pretty sure he is the one that enjoys spa day the most!

1 October 2019
Heidi has been trying out a harness so we can take him for sea swims. We have made some adjustments to make it fit and he is still getting used to wearing it. Our goal is to get him to exercise more! It will be nice for him to see the reef and the fish and we believe he will enjoy his time out of the Rescue Centre tanks. Stay tuned for the next update!

7 October 2019
Heidi hasn’t been out in the sea this week due to some terrible weather. We hope to get him in his harness and out in the big blue next week. We really think he will enjoy a sea swim!

14 October 2019
Heidi has been well this week. We have again had rough weather so he still hasn’t been out in the sea, but hopefully this will happen soon. His diet has been working and he dropped some weight this week.

21 October 2019
We moved Heidi into a front tank this week so he sees more of the guests and is getting a lot of attention as usual.

29 October 2019
This week Heidi finally went on a sea swim! He wore his harness and seemed happy to be back in the sea, cruising around and looking at the fish and corals. We hope to make this a regular thing for him to keep his mind active.

4 November 2019
Heidi had a second sea swim using a modified t-shirt as a harness. He found the lighter material more comfortable and enjoyed his open water experience this week.

18 November 2019
Heidi had been having regular sea swims, which he enjoys. However, he is still very lazy when he is not in the sea, so he remains on a diet.

25 November 2019
Heidi is prepping for another sea swim this week. We have altered his harness as he doesn’t like the material touching his neck; we have gone for an off the shoulder look that is trendy and also practical in case he decides to make a run (swim) for it!

2 December 2019
Heidi had fun on his sea swim with Arti this week. We are altering his harness again this week and will see how he goes on his next swim. Several guests took a shine to him this week and he had a lot of visitors.

9 December 2019
Heidi had a good sea swim this week, diving three times to explore the bottom of the sea! His harness is now very light and doesn’t seem to bother him as much. The exercise has been really good for him and he has lost some weight.

16 December 2019
Heidi missed out on a sea swim as well due to the bad weather. He is enjoying visits from the guests and always comes up to have a stickybeak to see what is going on around the tanks.

23 December 2019
Heidi is always a crowd favourite as he has such an amazing personality. No sea swim for him due to rough seas this week – hopefully we can take him out next week.

30 December 2019
Heidi is a champ. He has been enjoying time with the guests and loves his food as he always has. His Christmas dinner was prawns, which he was thrilled about! He’s always happy to come up to the glass to say hello.

13 January 2020
Heidi went for a swim in the lagoon this week and he had quite an amazing time! He was very excited and it was his best swim by far. He is still on his diet, and the exercise is doing him good.

28 January 2020
The weather has been bad with high winds and strong currents so Heidi missed out on ocean swims last week. He lost a small amount of weight this week, but any loss is a win! Guests still are amused when they realize he is a male.

3 January 2020
Heidi had an awesome sea swim last week. He is looking forward to another one this week. Some guests joined us last week and new ones are eager to join with us this week. Heidi doesn’t mind the company one bit.   

10 February 2020
Heidi had another great swim this week. He really enjoys his time in the sea. The exercise is really good for him and he is on the go for the entire time. Although he doesn’t like the wheelbarrow ride to the beach, he thinks the swim at the other end is well worth it.

17 February 2020
Heidi had a good sea swim this week. He looks out through the window at all the things going on in the Rescue Centre as he is a very curious being.

25 February 2020
Heidi missed out on his swim this week due to bad weather, but he didn’t mind too much and still managed to lose a little bit of weight. He had a check up and a blood test this week and is doing well.

2 March 2020
Heidi had a sea swim this week. He also had a bit of a check up in the vet clinic. His radiographs show not much change since his previous ones, and his blood work was pretty good. He is still quite chunky but has lost some weight. We will continue his diet and exercise plan.

26 March 2020
Heidi is doing OK. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get him out for a sea swim this week, but we’re hoping to do it next week. He could do with some exercise as he is very lazy in his tank.

6 April 2020
Heidi is doing well. He finally went for a sea swim this week and seemed to really enjoy it. He certainly kept our intern on her toes  – he was very quick and took her to quite a depth!

13 April 2020
Heidi is well behaved as always. He’s got a natural smile that everyone seems to love! He thoroughly enjoyed being treated to some crab this week too.

19 April 2020
Heidi seems to miss the visitors at the Rescue Centre. We are always greeted by him when we visit for cleaning or feeding.

26 April 2020
Heidi is doing well and really enjoyed his sea swim this week. Sea swims provide great mental stimulation for the turtles, particularly for Heidi as he has no guests to observe at the moment! He is such a gentle and patient turtle.

3 May 2020
Heidi is still missing the guests at the resort but he is eating well and has even lost a little weight with all the exercise he has been doing!

10 May 2020
Unfortunately Heidi missed out on his sea swim this week due to rough seas, but he didn’t seem to mind. Hopefully we can get him out next week.

24 June 2020
Heidi is very patient as always; he stays very calm during spa day. He is still enjoying his sea swims and dives very well. 

23 July 2020
The sea conditions have been rough recently so we haven’t been able to take Heidi out on his sea swims. Instead, he spent some time in the big tank so he could be a little more active.

25 September 2020
Now that we have a full team of a vet, a biologist and an intern, we will be able to take Heidi on more frequent sea swims. He had a good examination out of water when we cleaned him this week, and everything is looking good, although he is a little on the chunky side!

Heidi is always reliably ready to eat so he is easy at mealtimes, but he is going to need a little less this time around! His right flipper remains non-functional, but he manoeuvres very well with his back flippers.

4 October 2020
Heidi is lovely as ever, always a strong eater so no change there. He had an excellent sea swim too this week; he really loves them. Heidi was even noted to be foraging for corals and sponges from the seafloor, so that was really nice to see. We had a harness on him at the start but he found it off-putting, so he has been going without but his speed combined with Jinaad’s excellent free diving skills means he’s not hard to catch.

10 October 2020
Heidi is as lovely as ever. We haven’t been able to take him out as much this week because the current has been quite strong and when it was calmer, we prioritised Azura. But he went out yesterday and loved it, he was milling about amongst the sea grass, picking up overly large rocks and bits of coral and didn’t mind the presence of many pairs of interested eyes trained on him. Once he gets going, he doesn’t mind who follows him, he keeps on happily plodding along investigating the sea bed.

1 November 2020
No sea swims for Heidi this lately due to the poor visibility, instead he has been greeting his regular troupe of adoring fans. Lots of visitors for him to investigate and so he ends up moving around his tank a lot more – which is great.

8 November 2020
Heidi is eating well and interacting a lot with guests – as always. He had a great sea swim in the lagoon this week; the water was lovely and clear and he was in his element.

16 November 2020
Once again, Heidi is perfection in turtle form. He has been on a sea swim this week with some more guests, and once again without even meaning to, he puts on such a wonderful show. We don’t let guests witness sea swims with anyone but Heidi due to their increased stress levels, but Heidi truly is the best ambassador, and doesn’t show any indication he minds their presence. 

23 November 2020
Heidi has been in the smaller tank this week while the other tanks were repaired but he handled it with his usual aplomb, apart from the one time he had to briefly share with Disco and he kept trying to bite her feet through the barrier!

30 November 2020
Heidi had no swims this week but we are trying to keep him active and interested by cutting his food up into small pieces to make him move around his tank more

7 December 2020
Heidi is on a bit of a diet due to his weight increasing to 29.5kg while our food scales were broken! We obviously were overestimating a little! He is not pleased by this news.

13 December 2020
The lovely Heidi continues to make fans wherever he goes. He has dropped back down to his normal weight as well so his short term diet helped!

28 December 2020
Heidi is as wonderful as ever, gaining a lot of adopters for just being an all around swell guy.

11 January 2021
Heidi is continuing his illustrious tradition of being the most popular turtle in the Rescue Centre; lots of guests falling in love with his beguiling charm. He is still on slightly reduced food due to his slightly expanding size!

17 January 2021
Heidi is doing absolutely fine, sadly no sea swims recently due to how busy we are, but we will be having more people on site soon so hopefully we can get the chance to get him out and about.

24 January 2021
Heidi had a lot of fans this week, as he always does! His wonderful appetite is as constant as the sun rising and it makes us happy! Sadly no sea swims this week due to all the surgeries, but from the 31st we will have a free diving instructor as a volunteer so we can take him out as much as possible!

31 January 2021
Heidi is still a constantly hungry robust turtle. He has dropped back down to 28.5kg which is a relief after he was hovering around 29.5kg last time!

23 February 2021
Heidi is being his usual lovely self. Nothing much to report for him!

7 March 2021
Heidi has been a wonderful sport this week as we’ve moved him around all the tanks after many new patients turned up!

15 March 2021
Heidi is once again being a very tolerant soul as he gets moved around tanks to accommodate new patients who need more space than he currently does. We are trying to find time to take to take him on a sea swim to apologise!

29 March 2021
We are pursuing promising leads to find Heidi a new forever-home, which is amazing. In the meantime he has been out for a lovely sea swim and enjoyed his time gently browsing on the seafloor.

4 April 2021
We are still in the process of finding Heidi a new home, and things are looking a lot more promising this week.

11 April 2021
Heidi has been great as always, a very bright and hungry boy, not the most active mind you, so we always have to be keeping an eye on his weight! We are still pursuing leads for getting him to an aquarium.

18 April 2021
Heidi is back in a good weight range after getting a little chunky. Although his favourite thing to do is eat, we do have to keep him under control! We are still pursuing leads with some European aquariums, but these things do take time.

25 April 2021
Heidi is back in his proper tank, which he is very pleased about!

2 May 2021
Heidi is his bright and not very active self! We still haven’t heard any more on his position in the aquarium. 

9 May 2021
Heidi is doing really well, he has made a lot of friends and fans this week at the Rescue Centre, as usual!

16 May 2021
Heidi is remaining a stable weight and is active and bright as usual!

22 May 2021
Heidi is his usual wonderful self. He’s enjoyed some ice blocks with tuna in them this week.

30 May 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully, bright as ever. Still no swims sadly due to the poor weather conditions, but he has been enjoying tuna popsickles and we’re sure we’ll manage to get out soon.

6 June 2021
Heidi is doing really well; unfortunately still no updates on his aquarium position but we will continue to try!

13 June 2021
Heidi is a superstar and doing very well. Unfortunately, our first aquarium lead fell through, but we have found another lead that we are pursuing and we haven’t given up hope!

20 June 2021
Heidi is still as fabulous as ever, a firm favourite at the Rescue Centre, always greeting staff and guests alike. His appetite is the most consistent thing in the world and he is always reliable!

27 June 2021
Heidi is doing really well, bright and active as always. 

4 July 2021
Heidi is doing great, eating as well as ever and a firm favourite at the Rescue Centre, always putting a smile on everyone’s faces.

11 July 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully as always. We have no more updates on the aquarium at the moment but we will be sure to update you as soon as possible if anything changes.

18 July 2021
Heidi is doing great. We have taken to chopping his fish into tiny cubes and scattering them all around the tank which means he has to really forage for them – and he is always a very keen bean!

25 July 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully. We now chop his food into tiny bits to get him foraging around the floor – as he isn’t known to be the most active turtle at the best of times! We hope to get him out swimming soon when the visibility has improved.

1 August 2021
Heidi enjoyed his first foray into the sea in ages to stretch his flippers. He mooched around trying to eat as many things as he could find on the reef and in the sand. He always loves it right up until he has to get taken back to shore!

8 August 2021
Heidi is bright, active and doing very well. We are attempting to pursue another lead with a Dubai aquarium, but overall it is proving quite challenging to secure him a forever-home.

26 August 2021
Heidi is well as ever and we are still striving to find him a place at an aquarium to become an ambassador for ghost net injuries.

12 September 2021
Heidi is active and diving well but, unfortunately, does not have a forever home yet. We will keep searching until we find a suitable place for him to spend his life.

20 September 2021
Heidi is well as ever and we are still striving to find him a place at an aquarium to become an ambassador for ghost net injuries. He enjoys his sea swims and the time out of his tank.