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 and by Oliver Krumnak.

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!