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Turtle Patient 127: Xena, Sub-Adult Female Olive Ridley

Turtle patinet Xena coming up for air. ORP Turtle Rescue Centre. Image.
Xena coming up for air.

Xena was found in October 2019 in Lhaviyani Atoll, floating upside down and missing her left front flipper. She was initially cared for at Atoll Marine Centre, but was moved to us for medical care when she suddenly started deteriorating.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 1 November 2020
Patient Number: 127
Rescue Location: Lhaviyani Atoll
Reason: Debilitated, losing weight
Transport Method: Seaplane
Status: Current patient, North Malé

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Female
Age: Sub-Adult
Length: 60 cm
Weight: 14.45 kg

Xena has kindly been adopted by Matthew, by Athena, GO Nautica & Turtlee Green, for Matthew, for Andy by Katrina Denyer, by Reeves, for Isabell by Thomas Brockhausen, for Xenia by Petra, by Marina Libro, for Sarah by Dana Cerone, by Carolyn Pitman, for Alina by Carroll Lockett, by Pavel Jurisica & Petr Liko, for Nicole by Dajana, by Paul, Lauren Salter, Pleun Bo Wolters, and by Grégory & Noémie.

Xena’s Story

Xena arrived at the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre after a journeying on two sea planes and a speed boat! She has been rehabilitating at Atoll Marine Centre since late 2019, but recently started deteriorating. She refused food, started to lose weight and showed signs of shifting buoyancy issues. She was transferred to the Rescue Centre so we can provide the veterinary care she needs.

On her first day she refused fish but did eat 2 crabs quite vigorously, so that is encouraging. She will have a full diagnostic workup, inlcuding x-rays and ultrasound, plus faecal analysis. Her initial blood sample was encouraging – no signs of anaemia but we still need to manually assess her cells under the microscope.

8 November 2020
Xena has been very up and down since her arrival. She ate very well initially, but then has been very lethargic the rest of the week. We took x-rays and an ultrasound, and there is evidence of a bone infection that has likely spread body wide. We started her on antibiotics and fluids, and we are monitoring her very closely, but we still have a way to go.

13 November 2020
After a really tough last week and start of this week, where she spent a lot of time being very unresponsive, Xena has started to pick up a lot. She now comes over to greet us, and she is a bit keener on food, although still spitting things out intermittently. Not crabs though! So we have been out at night getting crabs for her and will continue to do so for as long as needed.

23 November 2020
Xena is on a crab only diet at the moment but she is eating them very well, having 6-8 crabs a night. She is noticeably more active in her tank. She is on injectable antibiotics every 72 hours. 

30 November 2020
Xena still on crab only diet, about 6-8 a night, but she eats them keenly and generally has maintained a good activity level. She will be having repeat bloods and ultrasounds beginning of next week.

7 December 2020
Xena was very excited for crabs this week, more keen than normal! On Wednesday she was a whole new turtle! Trying to dive for the crabs and everything. Then towards the end of the week she started eating fish and a lot of it so this is amazing news. We are really happy to see she is feeling more herself. She still has a way to go but Dr Minnie is encouraged. 

13 December 2020
Xena has been the focus of most of this week! She had 2 incredible days in a row where she was active and ate a lot, then she had a really down day. We repeated her x-rays, blood work and ultrasound. She has an abnormal fluid pocket around her oesophagus, which we’ve taken a sample of and will eventually drain all of, but at the moment it is unclear what it is. Towards the end of the week she picked up though, eating 490g of tuna on Saturday! She is still a little up and down, but the trend is definitely up so we are happy with her progress. However, we need to get to the bottom of her fluid build up. 

28 December 2020
Xena had such an amazing week – so active and normal looking! She ate consistently every single day right up until the 27th when we had to move her to the big tank with Disco (with a divider) due to stagnant water issues. Unfortunately, we think she is quite stressed by this as she doesn’t want to eat and has been trying to bite Disco through the barrier. We are going to get her back in her own tank today and hopefully she will continue to improve and improve.

11 January 2021
Xena continues her amazing streak of eating like a champion. She is eating around 500-600g a day now – which is amazing. She is still on antibiotics for her bone and lung infection, but she seems to be going from strength to strength and soon it will be time for a sea swim! We wanted to take her this week but it got very busy.

17 January 2021
Xena is quickly becoming a very reliable eater, something we never thought we would be able to say about her! She is eating bowls and bowls a day, always bright and active now. She has also been enjoying her move to one half of the big tank, allowing her to attempt diving. We will get her out on a sea swim asap.

24 January 2021
Xena had her first ever sea swim this week! She got started immediately, no delay at all once her plastron hit the sea! She tried to dive the whole time but unfortunately her buoyancy is a problem. She continues to eat voraciously and now weighs 16.5kg. We are aiming for at least 20kg so she is doing great! She has been off antibiotics for a week and a bit now, her only medication is good food!

31 January 2021
Xena has been doing really well. She now weighs 17.2kg after arriving here at 13.5kg. She is eating like a horse and is very active. We took her on a sea swim on Sunday but unfortunately there were too many people and she was swimming in the wrong direction a lot that we ended up aborting it. We will take her somewhere different next time.

7 February 2021
Xena is still doing really well and is bright and active. She is trying to dive a lot in the tank but, unfortunately, she is still pretty buoyant. She is gaining weight well and we will be taking her on more swims to try and get this floating issue sorted now that she is feeling so much better!

23 February 2021
Xena had to share her big tank with Harry one night and it put her right off eating! Thankfully, once she was moved back on her own, she started eating like a horse again. She is up to 18.2 kg and constantly active.

7 March 2021
Xena continues to gain weight, be very active and bright, and is trying her very best to dive. However, her buoyancy is still a significant issue. 

15 March 2021
Xena was so bright, active, well and gaining significant amounts of weight that she has been transferred to the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at our partner resort One & Only Reethi Rah in North Malé Atoll, where she will be under the care of our Sea Turtle Biologist, Rosie. There she will be able to have more space to practice her diving – which she will really relish! Plus she heard that when Azura was there, they gave her lobster so she’s pretty keen to find out if the rumours are true…

29 March 2021
Xena has settled in really well at One & Only and our Sea Turtle Biologist, Rosie, was thrilled to see a familiar face when she arrived! Unfortunately the journey was quite stressful for her and she did manage to scrape one of her top facial scutes off, but we are hoping this will heal quickly. She seems to be enjoying the extra space and has been eating extremely well – no lobster just yet but she is taking full advantage of the shrimp!

Now that Xena has had some time to settle in, she will be taken on weekly sea swims to practice her diving and fingers crossed she will be one step closer to release.

18 April 2021
Xena has been gaining weight and is making good use of her space in the big tank. She will soon be starting consistent weight belt therapy and sea swims to try and get her buoyancy sorted.

9 May 2021
Xena is doing well. She enjoys a meal of 400 gr of squid, tuna, crab and shrimp everyday and her weight has stabilized at nearly 20kg!

6 June 2021
Xena had her first sea swim after relocating to the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre this week! She started of slow, but quickly found her rhythm in the water, gently swimming with the currents. We hope that she will quickly become more comfortable and start attempting to dive soon!

13 June 2021
Xena is now a steady 18kg but, unfortunately, she is refusing food every few days. She also looks like she has got an infection in her working front flipper, under the instructions of our veterinarian team, we will be starting a course of antibiotics to treat this. We hope she will be feeling better eating lots of crabs soon!

20 June 2021
Thankfully, Xena seems to be responding well to the antibiotics, eating more food and beginning to use her front flipper a bit more, but only time will tell if she will fully recover.

27 June 2021
Xena is still on antibiotics and eating every now and then. We hope soon she will begin to be more active and eat more.

4 July 2021
Xena is starting to eat more and use her infected flipper to swim again. This is a great sign but she still has a long way to go.

25 July 2021
Xena continues to improve on her medication, swimming more and more each day. She has now become strong enough to start weight therapy in the tank. This is where we attach a weight belt to her to aid her with her buoyancy issues. Hopefully soon she will be ready to restart sea swims.

1 August 2021
Xena continues to get better and is attempting to dive more and more each week. She is eating well and we are slowly increasing the weight in her weight training therapy. She will start to go for sea swims as soon as the veterinary team think she is strong enough.

8 August 2021
Xena is not making the progress we hoped. She has been very slow and lethargic this week, only eating a few times. We are starting her on new medication soon to help her get better.

15 August 2021
Xena continues to undergo treatment of both antibiotics and antifungal medication. She was visited by Dr. Minnie this week who has decided that Xena will need to return to the Rescue Centre to receive x-rays and blood tests to see why she is not showing the improvements we were hoping to see this far into the medication. 

26 August 2021
Xena continues to be active and eat well but still has a lot of issues with her buoyancy. She is soon to head back to the Rescue Centre where Dr. Claire will use the new endoscope to check on the conditions of her lungs.

6 September 2021
Xena has been very active this week with some attempts to dive as well – which is great to see. She has been eating lots and will start sea swims again soon. Dr. Claire will be running some tests on Xena later this week when she visits the Rescue Centre.

12 September 2021
Xena returned back from the Rescue Centre at One & Only Reethi Rah to have blood tests and x-rays to determine how her recovery is progressing. She is lively, eating lots of fish and even attempted to dive on her sea swim which is great to see!

20 September 2021
Xena’s veterinary check-up went well. She has been less buoyant in the tanks and even managed to dive really well on her sea swim! We’re hoping to see a continuous improvement in time.

27 September 2021
Xena has settled back into the Rescue Centre. She is even enjoying all her food, which is great news. She will be having bloods tests next week to get a better baseline of her health.

4 October 2021
Xena had a blood test this week and being out of water really stressed her out, resulting in a day of not eating. Otherwise she has been in good spirits, bright and active and eating well. She will be having follow up x-rays later this week.

10 October 2021
Xena has had a good week in that she is eating well and is fairly active. She hasn’t been swimming yet as she’s not 100%, but we are happy that she seems brighter in herself. She will be having some more x-rays soon to check on the status of her bone infection.

18 October 2021
Xena has been quite subdued this week but she is still maintaining a great appetite. We know she is struggling long term from chronic bone infections, but at this stage her x-rays are quite stable. We will be regularly reassessing and monitoring her. 

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