Turtle Patient 209: Handhu, Sub-Adult Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Handhu recovering in the tank at the Rescue Centre. Image.

Handhu was found entangled in a ghost net by the dive team at Nakai Dhiggiri Resort in Vaavu Atoll.

The Vitals

Admission Date: 18 April 2023
Patient Number: 209
Rescue Location: Vaavu Atoll
Reason: Found entangled
Transport Method: Speedboats & seaplane
Status: Current patient

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Unknown
Age: Sub-Adult
Length: 55.4 cm
Weight: 15.6 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Handhu has kindly been adopted for Simone by Vincent Olivier, by Lindsay Dearden, for Niko by James Jeffery, for Neal by Ximena, for Francie by Nicki Comeau, for Mathis by Antoine, for Andrew & Michaela by Andrew Walton, by Thomas, by $TRTL Community and by Swiss International School Qatar.

Handhu’s Story

Handhu, which means “Moon” in Dhivehi (quite the fitting name for a Ramadan rescue!), was brought onto the boat and then carefully disentangled. Once the rescuers realised that Handhu had a deep laceration to her right front flipper, they promptly called us for a veterinary check. It was decided she would need to be seen and assessed.

After a very long day of travels by different speedboats and a seaplane, Handhu was admitted to the Rescue Centre in the late evening of 18th of April. Her X-rays are looking OK – we found no fractures, which is great news. The veterinary team started Handhu on supportive therapy and pain relief, preparing her for a future surgery on that affected limb. Handhu has been resting in our ICU tank and adjusting to her new environment.

1 May 2023
Handhu has been resting on the bottom, swimming around her tank during the day and interacting with the enrichment devices we provide her with. Her appetite has improved and she loves to forage for her prawns and fish.

On April 20th Handhu underwent surgery to deep clean her injuries and the underlining tissues were looking well. We started her on laser therapy to promote a faster healing and are hopeful she will only require a couple more procedures to fully heal her lesion.

13 June 2023
Handhu underwent a couple of procedures to clean her injury on the right front flipper and it has been healing nicely since. Unfortunately, as it happens to many of our entangled patients, she developed a bone infection on her right elbow which is preventing her from using that limb. We are treating it aggressively and hoping Handhu will respond to it. Keep sending her good healing energies!

9 July 2023
Handhu’s injury on the right front flipper has fully healed now, however we continue with aggressive therapy to target the bone infection in his right elbow and left shoulder. The past couple of X-rays have shown that the disease is stabilising. Handhu has also started using his flippers slightly more which is encouraging to see. 

13 August 2023
Handhu’s bone infections appear to be stable for the moment. He started using his front flippers a bit better, especially his left front flipper. However, at the beginning of the month a new lesion appeared on the left hind flipper which reduced his range of motion there. We are monitoring it closely.

12 September 2023
Handhu’s bone infection on his shoulders and left hip continue to be stable and he has slowly been regaining mobility on his front flippers. We are monitoring him closely and tailoring his therapy accordingly.

10 October 2023
Handhu’s bone infection in his shoulders and left hip is stable. He is moving his front flippers much better and is also beginning to use his left hind flipper. While he’s making good progress, he continues to keep the team on their toes by changing his food preferences. We are monitoring him closely and will adapt his therapy accordingly.

14 November 2023
Since Handhu’s blood work had been clear for the past few weeks, we have discontinued all his medication. Handhu is still receiving cold laser therapy and routine physiotherapy on his front flippers to improve his mobility. While we are happy to see him get better, we are continuing to monitor his health closely.

Adopt Handhu

When you symbolically adopt one of our turtle patients you will receive:

  • A personalised adoption certificate with the history of your adopted turtle patient
  • A fact sheet about the species of sea turtle
  • Updates on how your adopted turtle’s recovery is going (if you wish)
  • Notification in the case of a release

We ask for a minimum one time gift donation of £75 to adopt a turtle patient. You can also choose to make a monthly donation.

Once we receive confirmation of the donation and your adoption form (please make sure the names on the donation and adoption forms match), we will issue the adoption certificate with details about the turtle patient to you or the gift recipient. Please allow 7 days for the issuing of the certificate.

By adopting one of our turtle patients you will contribute towards the cost of our patients’ veterinary care, medications, and transport. You will also help fund our core charitable objectives to protect sea turtles and their habitats through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education and outreach.