All Turtle Patients

Meet Heidi, A Male Olive Ridley We Thought Was Female

Heidi is an adult olive ridley turtle who was found entangled in a big ghost net at Dropped Pin near the Laccadive Sea.

Intake Date: 21st April 2018
Length: 65 cm
Weight: 27 kg
Status: Current Patient

Heidi has 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 and for Jarron by Angelica Layton.

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.