Sea Turtle Emergency

If you have found an injured sea turtle in the Maldives and need sea turtle emergency assistance, please contact the ORP Marine Turtle Rescue Centre:

email vet@oliveridleyproject.org

CALL +960 955 2205

You can also contact us on Facebook

How To Deal With a Sea Turtle Emergency

Entangled Olive Ridley turtle on boat after rescue
  • First, ensure your own safety by assessing the situation and taking necessary precautions. Turtles have strong sharp beaks, so take great care when approaching. Water safety advice applies to situations where turtles are found entangled/floating at sea: Do not enter the water unless you are a confident swimmer and are with someone. Never attempt a rescue alone.
  • Make some observations. We will ask:
    • Where the turtle was found?
    • The rough size and weight?
    • Whether the turtle is floating?
    • Are any obvious external injuries?
  • If the turtle is entangled at sea, assess if it can be safely removed from the sea. The net may be attached to coral so should be treated carefully. A knife may be needed to remove net that is anchored to a reef. Try to bring the turtle and net onboard to remove the net.

Handling The Turtle

  •  To pick up turtles, place one hand over the shell behind the head/shoulder region and the other hand on the bottom of the shell at the back. Do not pick up using the net. Adult turtles will likely need two people to lift.
  • Take photos. If possible, send these to us and we will be able to give you advice for each individual situation. Take photos of the whole turtle from both sides and above, and then any specific injury.

Freeing The Sea Turtle From The Ghost Net

Attempts at freeing the entangled turtle can be made, however, sometimes the net can be embedded deep into the flippers; removing the net can cause considerable bleeding. If at all unsure, then leave the net until the turtle reaches the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre. Please keep the net and send with the turtle if you remove it.

Sea Turtle First Aid

  • If there is any active bleeding, place pressure as best you can by use of a towel or something similar. Again, take care if this is near the sharp beak so as not to get bitten!
  • If you see a hook, do not attempt to remove it.
  • Secure the turtle: wrap a damp towel around it and secure all the flippers (swaddle like a baby). Keep the towels damp during transport.
  • Cover the turtle’s eyes to minimise stress.
  • Avoid unnecessary handling.
  • Use any padding available to you, such as towels or sheets, during transport to increase comfort and security of the turtle.

Download Our Turtle Entanglement Protocol

Click on the image to download our Turtle Entanglement Protocol – a step-by-step guide on what to do when you find an entangled turtle.

Turtle Entanglement Protocol PDF
Turtle Entanglement Protocol