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Turtle Patient 147: Abba, Adult Male Olive Ridley

Adult male olive ridley turtle baient Abba in his tank. Image.

Abba was rescued from a huge ghost net by staff from Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in Baa Atoll, not far from the Rescue Centre.

Intake Date: 5 April 2021
Patient Number: 147
Rescue Location: Baa Atoll
Reason: Found entangled in a ghost net
Transport Method: Dhoni (boat)
Status: Released 18 May 2021

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Male
Age: Adult
Length: 68 cm
Weight: 32.15 kg

Abba has been kindly adopted by Janeen, Chase, for Saoirse by Cliona, for Jude by Paul and by Emma Hanek.

Abba is a very large adult male olive ridley turtle. He was found during a snorkel trip by a member of the Coco Palm water sports team (called Abbas!) with both his front flippers severely entangled. He also has a historic amputation to his back left flipper. This means that he has likely been entangled twice in his life.

Abba had a full assessment upon arrival and will be having x-rays to confirm the integrity of his front flipper bones and to clean up his wounds. He has some mild buoyancy issues, but all in all, despite the severity of his wounds, we are confident that he will make a full recovery. 

11 April 2021
Abba wounds from entanglement are very deep on both front flippers, all the way down to bone. Thankfully, he is diving and swimming well and responding to daily wound care. At this stage he won’t need surgery. Abba has become a bit of an internet sensation thanks to Paul, our visiting vet, who made a TikTok about him that has over 1.3 million views! (@vetpaulramos). Abba has really become an ambassador for the grim reality of ghost nets.

18 April 2021
We continue to give Abba wound care every 2-3 days and there is some good healing tissue forming, although it will take a while before there is good coverage. He is eating really well now and is active, bright and getting better at diving. We are going to move him into half the big tank soon, so he can maximise his diving practice; he is still a bit tail up sometimes.

25 April 2021
Abba’s wounds are healing well, but are still very severe. Unfortunately he has done a lot of damage to his flipper tips by knocking them against the tank walls, and next week we will be amputating just the tip under sedation and local anaesthetic. He is a strong turtle though and will be absolutely fine. He’s eating like a horse which is great!

2 May 2021
Abba is quite a stressed out guy. He required surgery this week to amputate one little finger bone, which he had damaged by hitting on the tanks. We have now covered the windows of his tank which seems to have made him more comfortable, so hopefully we can avoid any further self trauma! His ghost net wounds are looking excellent, starting to heal really well. He still has bone exposure on both sides, but the tissue is looking really nice and healthy and it shouldn’t be long before it covers over the exposed bone. He is eating well and has good control over his buoyancy now. Current weight: 32.2kg

9 May 2021
Abba’s wounds are looking excellent; this week we had to debride away some dead bits of bone, but he tolerated it like a champ and the bone underneath is super healthy and already being covered over by new tissue. He is a great swimmer and is eating really well. In fact, we are so impressed by his progress that we may even release him next week! We shall monitor him closely.

18 May 2021
Abba was released today. We decided to release him from the beach rather than stress him out with a boat ride. After first seeming a little confused, he made his way into the water and swam off happily.