Turtle Patient 44: Heidi, Adult Male Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Heidi in his tank. Image.
Heidi in his tank.

Heidi was found entangled in a big ghost net at Dropped Pin, near Laccadive Sea, in South Malé Atoll, in April 2018. We initially though Heidi was a she, but later realised Heidi was a male!

The Vitals

Intake Date: 21 April 2018
Patient Number: 44
Rescue Location: South Malé Atoll
Reason: Found entangled
Transport Method: Speedboat & Sea Plane
Status: Deceased May 2023

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Male
Age: Adult
Length: 65 cm
Weight: 27 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Heidi has kindly been adopted by Eva-Maria Heinemann, Dorota Summers, Anita Lehmeier, for Stephanie by Paul Thomson, for Robin by Iris Weiskopf, by Elena Rempel, Oliver Krumnak, Simon Snell, for Boris by Tanja Zwetkoff, for Sara by Audrey, for Ellie-May by Bobby & Emily, for Sven by Mimie Reed, by Gabi, Gill Wheeldon, Kathleen Rothery, Lauren, Alexandra Pulido, Adrianna, Molly, Gertia Cazemier, by Morgan, Diane, Elsa, Heidi Cardona, Thomas Brockhausen, Stephanie Ingrassia, Sherry Taylor, Tangled Seas, for Sonja by Madeleine, for Jarron by Angelica Layton, by Rachel & Adam Lloyd, Kathleen, by Laura L Benigni, for Lily by Katy, for the Muga Family by Kathleen Connell, by Rachel, Silvi Bell, Donielle Deitz, Karen, Jillian, Anett Rejto, for Gøril by Marianne, by Roberta Yingling, Kim, Paul, Andrea Robiné, Samuel Hanek, Terence van Lenten, for Myriam by Michelle Caparrelli, for Bia by Raffi, by Gregor Möbius & Marcus Meyer, Sheryl Martinig, Gareth, Geoff Poyer, Lou Ann Sy, Dmitri Alexandrov, Andreina E Plata Smeraldi, Mirjam, Carol Fickinger, for Josette by Susan Hurwitz Arneson, by John Pennell, Nathalie Popovic, Deborah, Noah Blazyca, Hollie Sarah Smith, Laureane, for Emilia by Cornelia, by Jana Lorenz, Andreas Fruh, Barbara Vassalli, Meghan Raymond, for David by Susan Ashcroft, by Ines, Max Mullins, Daniëlle & Kim,Tim, for Claudia by Sabine & Michael Abele, for Corina by Marko Oehler, by Rosa Nill, Esther, Anika, Gunter & Monika, Ani Avagyan-Reinsch, Aik Wye Ng, by Gunter & Monika, Robin Amatucci, David Walker, Theo Owen, Parker Lundry, Lily Rooney & Briadhad Wood, in memory of Diana Marie High by Richard C High, by Laura & Charles, Carlotta Schmied, Ryan Tanis, Róbert Demirev, Michael & Nicole Becker, Kyle Hoover, Christine, Maria Cremaschi, Yu Chi, Lydia Lee, Michelle, for David by Nina Wysakowska, by Zoë, Angela, for Lina by Doris, by Frank Thomas de Kruijff, and by Lewis.

Heidi’s Story

Update November 2023

Our beloved Heidi’s story has captured the hearts of many around the world and is part of a current BBC-UK programme called ‘Secrets of the Aquarium’. His story highlights the difficulty in balancing the medical management of a wild animal patient with catastrophic injuries intended for return to the wild with the ethical burden of the decision to humanely euthanise a patient in permanent captivity, because there is no hope for successful treatment. Just like every other patient we treat, we collectively learn new approaches to improve our practices from them, and Heidi has taught us much that we want to share here.

Heidi’s Injuries

Heidi arrived at the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre on 21st April, 2018, with severe entanglement injuries to both front flippers. These injuries resulted in the loss of his front left flipper, and his remaining front right flipper suffered un-treatable damage, meaning he would not have survived in the wild. After extensive discussion, it was decided that Heidi’s best long-term future was to live out his days at the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in the UK. 

Heidi’s Last Journey

Heidi was transferred to the Aquarium in November 2022 where he settled in nicely. The decision to transfer Heidi at that time was based on sound clinical and ethical foundations, and we explored every possible aspect of the transfer during our due diligence. Heidi displayed a stable clinical status for many months prior to the transfer, which included evaluation by serial radiographs, physical examinations, and blood-work.

However, after several months of treatment and care at the NMA, additional significant medical issues were diagnosed related to his entanglement in ghost gear. The NMA elected to make the very difficult decision to euthanise Heidi after it was determined that his osteomyelitis had returned and advanced to a point where it was no longer treatable. ORP leadership and the veterinary team were not part of the discussion or the decision to euthanise Heidi. We are grateful that the NMA’s team exhausted every option at their disposal to give Heidi a long-term home.

What We Have Learnt From Heidi

Heidi’s story has taught us all a great deal, and it is our position now that we would not elect to transfer a patient out of a country under nearly any circumstance. This is informed by the fact that:

  • transport is exceedingly stressful even under the best of circumstances;
  • permanent captivity always includes some degree of poor health and ill fitness of the animal; and
  • if no therapy can offer the chance at return to the wild, then euthanasia ought to be employed as a final, last resort to end that patient’s suffering.

We also acknowledge that other clinicians and rescue centres around the world have divergent opinions on this matter, so we think it is important to outline our view of minimum standards for the transport and placement of a sea turtle to a facility outside of the country or one that requires travel of great distance.

The minimum standards are based on our experiences in transfers of this kind at other facilities and reflect generally accepted best-practices transport guidelines in wildlife medicine for the long-distance movement of any wild animal. These standards are:

Shipping facility

  • Sea turtle is free from disease and clinically normal for a minimum of three months prior to travel. Animals with existing disease must have demonstrated non-progression and management of disease for three months prior to travel.
  • Full medical workups must be performed to determine the above. These include physical and neurological examinations, radiographs, blood chemistries, CBC / PCV / TS, and behavioral assessment.

Receiving facility

  • Facility must have full-time veterinary coverage with at least one veterinary surgeon with experience in sea turtle and marine animal medicine.
  • Facility must have the capacity and expertise to perform regular (at least twice yearly) physical and neurological exams, radiographs, full bloodwork (chemistries / CBC / PCV / TS), and behavioral assessments.
  • Facility must have capacity and expertise to perform emergency and critical care measures if needed.

Evaluation of same-sided, double amputee sea turtle patients

Like all sea turtle veterinary surgeons, our veterinary surgeons have been trained to consider a sea turtle patient missing both limbs on one side as a euthanasia case, exclusively. Over the past several months, we have reframed this position, based on information shared with veterinary colleagues in India.

These colleagues have experience releasing same-sided, double amputees back into the wild, and have demonstrated survival for over two years with underwater photography. After discussing these cases with our team, we recommended that each of these patients be considered on a case-by-case basis and that it is possible for some patients who are missing both limbs on one side to be successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

We continue to maintain that patients missing both hind flippers are potentially acceptable release candidates, while patients missing both front flippers are euthanasia cases. It is important to continually assess the latest science and findings to inform our clinical decisions and this change in position reflects that assessment.

April 2018
Heidi was found entangled in a big ghost net at Dropped Pin, near Laccadive Sea, in South Malé Atoll and was taken overnight to Como Cocoa Island in South Malé 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.

May 2018
Unfortunately, Heidi’s 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.

May 2018
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.

September 2018
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!

14 October 2019
Heidi has been well this week. We have again had rough weather so he still hasn’t been out in the sea, but hopefully this will happen soon. His diet has been working and he dropped some weight this week.

21 October 2019
We moved Heidi into a front tank this week so he sees more of the guests and is getting a lot of attention as usual.

29 October 2019
This week Heidi finally went on a sea swim! He wore his harness and seemed happy to be back in the sea, cruising around and looking at the fish and corals. We hope to make this a regular thing for him to keep his mind active.

4 November 2019
Heidi had a second sea swim using a modified t-shirt as a harness. He found the lighter material more comfortable and enjoyed his open water experience this week.

18 November 2019
Heidi had been having regular sea swims, which he enjoys. However, he is still very lazy when he is not in the sea, so he remains on a diet.

25 November 2019
Heidi is prepping for another sea swim this week. We have altered his harness as he doesn’t like the material touching his neck; we have gone for an off the shoulder look that is trendy and also practical in case he decides to make a run (swim) for it!

2 December 2019
Heidi had fun on his sea swim with Arti this week. We are altering his harness again this week and will see how he goes on his next swim. Several guests took a shine to him this week and he had a lot of visitors.

9 December 2019
Heidi had a good sea swim this week, diving three times to explore the bottom of the sea! His harness is now very light and doesn’t seem to bother him as much. The exercise has been really good for him and he has lost some weight.

16 December 2019
Heidi missed out on a sea swim as well due to the bad weather. He is enjoying visits from the guests and always comes up to have a stickybeak to see what is going on around the tanks.

23 December 2019
Heidi is always a crowd favourite as he has such an amazing personality. No sea swim for him due to rough seas this week – hopefully we can take him out next week.

30 December 2019
Heidi is a champ. He has been enjoying time with the guests and loves his food as he always has. His Christmas dinner was prawns, which he was thrilled about! He’s always happy to come up to the glass to say hello.

13 January 2020
Heidi went for a swim in the lagoon this week and he had quite an amazing time! He was very excited and it was his best swim by far. He is still on his diet, and the exercise is doing him good.

28 January 2020
The weather has been bad with high winds and strong currents so Heidi missed out on ocean swims last week. He lost a small amount of weight this week, but any loss is a win! Guests still are amused when they realize he is a male.

3 January 2020
Heidi had an awesome sea swim last week. He is looking forward to another one this week. Some guests joined us last week and new ones are eager to join with us this week. Heidi doesn’t mind the company one bit.   

10 February 2020
Heidi had another great swim this week. He really enjoys his time in the sea. The exercise is really good for him and he is on the go for the entire time. Although he doesn’t like the wheelbarrow ride to the beach, he thinks the swim at the other end is well worth it.

17 February 2020
Heidi had a good sea swim this week. He looks out through the window at all the things going on in the Rescue Centre as he is a very curious being.

25 February 2020
Heidi missed out on his swim this week due to bad weather, but he didn’t mind too much and still managed to lose a little bit of weight. He had a check up and a blood test this week and is doing well.

2 March 2020
Heidi had a sea swim this week. He also had a bit of a check up in the vet clinic. His radiographs show not much change since his previous ones, and his blood work was pretty good. He is still quite chunky but has lost some weight. We will continue his diet and exercise plan.

26 March 2020
Heidi is doing OK. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get him out for a sea swim this week, but we’re hoping to do it next week. He could do with some exercise as he is very lazy in his tank.

6 April 2020
Heidi is doing well. He finally went for a sea swim this week and seemed to really enjoy it. He certainly kept our intern on her toes  – he was very quick and took her to quite a depth!

13 April 2020
Heidi is well behaved as always. He’s got a natural smile that everyone seems to love! He thoroughly enjoyed being treated to some crab this week too.

19 April 2020
Heidi seems to miss the visitors at the Rescue Centre. We are always greeted by him when we visit for cleaning or feeding.

26 April 2020
Heidi is doing well and really enjoyed his sea swim this week. Sea swims provide great mental stimulation for the turtles, particularly for Heidi as he has no guests to observe at the moment! He is such a gentle and patient turtle.

3 May 2020
Heidi is still missing the guests at the resort but he is eating well and has even lost a little weight with all the exercise he has been doing!

10 May 2020
Unfortunately Heidi missed out on his sea swim this week due to rough seas, but he didn’t seem to mind. Hopefully we can get him out next week.

24 June 2020
Heidi is very patient as always; he stays very calm during spa day. He is still enjoying his sea swims and dives very well. 

23 July 2020
The sea conditions have been rough recently so we haven’t been able to take Heidi out on his sea swims. Instead, he spent some time in the big tank so he could be a little more active.

25 September 2020
Now that we have a full team of a vet, a biologist and an intern, we will be able to take Heidi on more frequent sea swims. He had a good examination out of water when we cleaned him this week, and everything is looking good, although he is a little on the chunky side!

Heidi is always reliably ready to eat so he is easy at mealtimes, but he is going to need a little less this time around! His right flipper remains non-functional, but he manoeuvres very well with his back flippers.

4 October 2020
Heidi is lovely as ever, always a strong eater so no change there. He had an excellent sea swim too this week; he really loves them. Heidi was even noted to be foraging for corals and sponges from the seafloor, so that was really nice to see. We had a harness on him at the start but he found it off-putting, so he has been going without but his speed combined with Jinaad’s excellent free diving skills means he’s not hard to catch.

10 October 2020
Heidi is as lovely as ever. We haven’t been able to take him out as much this week because the current has been quite strong and when it was calmer, we prioritised Azura. But he went out yesterday and loved it, he was milling about amongst the sea grass, picking up overly large rocks and bits of coral and didn’t mind the presence of many pairs of interested eyes trained on him. Once he gets going, he doesn’t mind who follows him, he keeps on happily plodding along investigating the sea bed.

1 November 2020
No sea swims for Heidi this lately due to the poor visibility, instead he has been greeting his regular troupe of adoring fans. Lots of visitors for him to investigate and so he ends up moving around his tank a lot more – which is great.

8 November 2020
Heidi is eating well and interacting a lot with guests – as always. He had a great sea swim in the lagoon this week; the water was lovely and clear and he was in his element.

16 November 2020
Once again, Heidi is perfection in turtle form. He has been on a sea swim this week with some more guests, and once again without even meaning to, he puts on such a wonderful show. We don’t let guests witness sea swims with anyone but Heidi due to their increased stress levels, but Heidi truly is the best ambassador, and doesn’t show any indication he minds their presence. 

23 November 2020
Heidi has been in the smaller tank this week while the other tanks were repaired but he handled it with his usual aplomb, apart from the one time he had to briefly share with Disco and he kept trying to bite her feet through the barrier!

30 November 2020
Heidi had no swims this week but we are trying to keep him active and interested by cutting his food up into small pieces to make him move around his tank more

7 December 2020
Heidi is on a bit of a diet due to his weight increasing to 29.5kg while our food scales were broken! We obviously were overestimating a little! He is not pleased by this news.

13 December 2020
The lovely Heidi continues to make fans wherever he goes. He has dropped back down to his normal weight as well so his short term diet helped!

28 December 2020
Heidi is as wonderful as ever, gaining a lot of adopters for just being an all around swell guy.

11 January 2021
Heidi is continuing his illustrious tradition of being the most popular turtle in the Rescue Centre; lots of guests falling in love with his beguiling charm. He is still on slightly reduced food due to his slightly expanding size!

17 January 2021
Heidi is doing absolutely fine, sadly no sea swims recently due to how busy we are, but we will be having more people on site soon so hopefully we can get the chance to get him out and about.

24 January 2021
Heidi had a lot of fans this week, as he always does! His wonderful appetite is as constant as the sun rising and it makes us happy! Sadly no sea swims this week due to all the surgeries, but from the 31st we will have a free diving instructor as a volunteer so we can take him out as much as possible!

31 January 2021
Heidi is still a constantly hungry robust turtle. He has dropped back down to 28.5kg which is a relief after he was hovering around 29.5kg last time!

23 February 2021
Heidi is being his usual lovely self. Nothing much to report for him!

7 March 2021
Heidi has been a wonderful sport this week as we’ve moved him around all the tanks after many new patients turned up!

15 March 2021
Heidi is once again being a very tolerant soul as he gets moved around tanks to accommodate new patients who need more space than he currently does. We are trying to find time to take to take him on a sea swim to apologise!

29 March 2021
We are pursuing promising leads to find Heidi a new forever-home, which is amazing. In the meantime he has been out for a lovely sea swim and enjoyed his time gently browsing on the seafloor.

4 April 2021
We are still in the process of finding Heidi a new home, and things are looking a lot more promising this week.

11 April 2021
Heidi has been great as always, a very bright and hungry boy, not the most active mind you, so we always have to be keeping an eye on his weight! We are still pursuing leads for getting him to an aquarium.

18 April 2021
Heidi is back in a good weight range after getting a little chunky. Although his favourite thing to do is eat, we do have to keep him under control! We are still pursuing leads with some European aquariums, but these things do take time.

25 April 2021
Heidi is back in his proper tank, which he is very pleased about!

2 May 2021
Heidi is his bright and not very active self! We still haven’t heard any more on his position in the aquarium. 

9 May 2021
Heidi is doing really well, he has made a lot of friends and fans this week at the Rescue Centre, as usual!

16 May 2021
Heidi is remaining a stable weight and is active and bright as usual!

22 May 2021
Heidi is his usual wonderful self. He’s enjoyed some ice blocks with tuna in them this week.

30 May 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully, bright as ever. Still no swims sadly due to the poor weather conditions, but he has been enjoying tuna popsickles and we’re sure we’ll manage to get out soon.

6 June 2021
Heidi is doing really well; unfortunately still no updates on his aquarium position but we will continue to try!

13 June 2021
Heidi is a superstar and doing very well. Unfortunately, our first aquarium lead fell through, but we have found another lead that we are pursuing and we haven’t given up hope!

20 June 2021
Heidi is still as fabulous as ever, a firm favourite at the Rescue Centre, always greeting staff and guests alike. His appetite is the most consistent thing in the world and he is always reliable!

27 June 2021
Heidi is doing really well, bright and active as always. 

4 July 2021
Heidi is doing great, eating as well as ever and a firm favourite at the Rescue Centre, always putting a smile on everyone’s faces.

11 July 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully as always. We have no more updates on the aquarium at the moment but we will be sure to update you as soon as possible if anything changes.

18 July 2021
Heidi is doing great. We have taken to chopping his fish into tiny cubes and scattering them all around the tank which means he has to really forage for them – and he is always a very keen bean!

25 July 2021
Heidi is doing wonderfully. We now chop his food into tiny bits to get him foraging around the floor – as he isn’t known to be the most active turtle at the best of times! We hope to get him out swimming soon when the visibility has improved.

1 August 2021
Heidi enjoyed his first foray into the sea in ages to stretch his flippers. He mooched around trying to eat as many things as he could find on the reef and in the sand. He always loves it right up until he has to get taken back to shore!

8 August 2021
Heidi is bright, active and doing very well. We are attempting to pursue another lead with a Dubai aquarium, but overall it is proving quite challenging to secure him a forever-home.

26 August 2021
Heidi is well as ever and we are still striving to find him a place at an aquarium to become an ambassador for ghost net injuries.

12 September 2021
Heidi is active and diving well but, unfortunately, does not have a forever home yet. We will keep searching until we find a suitable place for him to spend his life.

20 September 2021
Heidi is well as ever and we are still striving to find him a place at an aquarium to become an ambassador for ghost net injuries. He enjoys his sea swims and the time out of his tank.

27 September 2021
Heidi is doing fine. We are fighting a constant battle with his weight but we are winning – on his most recent weigh in, he, thankfully, has been maintaining! Dr Minnie contacted a German aquarium this week to explore some possibilities for re-homing him.

4 October 2021
Heidi is eating well and maintaining a normal weight. Sadly another aquarium lead fell through, but we continue to try and find him a perfect forver-home.

10 October 2021
Heidi has been sharing half a tank with Disco while maintenance works are ongoing on the tanks and there hasn’t been any issues, apart from being very resentful of watching Disco drop food not being able to reach it! After a lead with one German zoo fell through, some guests gave us the contact of another aquarium in Austria, so we will be pursuing that lead. 

18 October 2021
Heidi is doing great this week. He is maintaining his weight and his appetite is as good as ever. A lot of guests have been providing us with potential aquariums to contact, and we will be pursuing all of those as soon as we can.

24 October 2021
Heidi went on a sea swim this week which he enjoyed, browsing through the reef and the sandy bottom. Still no luck finding him an aquarium at this time but we continue to work on it.

31October 2021
Heidi is doing great this week. We have made contact with an aquarium that is interested in going further with Heidi, we are in discussion phases still at the moment but things sound promising!

8 November 2021
Heidi is in good spirits this week. We are still forging ahead with discussions for him to be moved to an aquarium in the UK.

15 November 2021
Heidi is his beautiful, charming and hungry self. We are still in talks with a UK aquarium, and although nothing is assured, everything at this stage is positive so we will update you as soon as we can.

21 November 2021
Heidi is his usual wonderful self, we are making good headway with finding him a new place to live, and will be having a more formal conversation with the interested aquarium this week.

28 November 2021
Heidi is doing really well, he is active and alert, very bright and as always has a huge appetite. We have been trying some play things in this tank to see what piques his interest – overall he only really likes things he can eat! But we will keep investigating.

5 December 2021
Heidi is doing very well this week, he is very bright and active and his weight has remained very stable which is always good considering how robust his appetite is! 

12 December 2021
Heidi is as wonderful as ever. We had a meeting with a UK based aquarium this week which was very positive and we are now working on getting his export permits sorted so we can make his aquarium home dream a reality!

19 December 2021
Heidi is doing excellently. We are working on sorting out all the paperwork for Heidi’s export to the UK, and we are very excited about the prospect of finally getting him his forever home! We will keep you updated, but it could still take some time yet.

26 December 2021
Heidi is his bright and wonderful self. We are still working on all the forms required to get him moved to the UK! 

2 January 2022
Heidi is wonderful as always. We have now completed the forms needed for Heidi to travel to the UK and will be sending them off asap to get the ball rolling on his move!

9 January 2022
Heidi had a lovely sea swim this week where he enjoyed swimming around the seafloor grabbing rocks, interacting with big schools of fish, and causing mayhem in Coco Palms coral garden! 

16 January 2022
Heidi is doing wonderfully, he loved his sea swim last week and did a great job. This week we have submitted his travel papers to the Maldivian government and are waiting to hear back!

23 January 2022
Heidi continues to be no trouble at all, a delightful animal with a constant appetite and an unwavering good nature! No updates yet on his travel permit but we will hopefully hear something soon.

30 January 2022
Heidi has been moved to a quarter of the big tank and he’s really loving it; not only is there a little more space, but the way the dividers are set up means he can wedge parts of his head and shell under them and investigate other sides of the tanks, and more to the point, pick up little food bits some other turtles have dropped! 

6 February 2022
Heidi is enjoying his time in a quarter of the big tank where he can zip around and stick his head into other people’s sides and see what they are doing. He has a healthy appetite as always, and this week had a scrub and a weigh in: he has gained a little but he always fluctuates around the same weight, so we are happy with that.

13 February 2022
Heidi is his usual wonderful self; we are attempting to push forward with obtaining his travel permits but it is taking time. 

20 February 2022
Heidi is doing great, generally pretty active and alert with a great appetite. We are still awaiting a reply from the government regarding his travel permit.

6 March 2022
Heidi is in tip top condition and we are making good headway with getting his import and export certificates; we are working closely with the aquarium in the UK to get this sorted as quickly as possible!

13 March 2022
Heidi is doing very well as always; bright as a button, active and with his trademark 10/10 appetite. We are pleased to report we are getting ever closer to Heidi making his way to the UK, with his import permits ready to be submitted.

20 March 2022
Heidi’s UK import certificate has been submitted. Once it is approved we can apply for the Maldives export certificate, so we should soon be good to go. We are now approaching airlines to get Heidi sponsored to fly! We will keep you updated on how you can help Heidi get to the UK.

27 March 2022
We are still waiting to hear back regarding Heidi’s import certificates but we are hopeful things are going well!

3 April 2022
Heidi continues to do very well and we continue to await information about his import certificates from the UK side.

10 April 2022
Heidi continues to be a much loved gentle soul. His papers in the UK needed a bit more detail added to them, so the aquarium are working on that while we also sort out how to transport him, but all is going to plan!

24 April 2022 / 1 May 2022
We are still working on sorting Heidi’s final travel permit!

6 May 2022
Heidi is still well and the paperwork for his travels is still ongoing.

15 May 2022
The paperwork for Heidi’s travel permit is still on-going. There has been no update since last week. 

22 May 2022
The paperwork for Heidi’s travel permit is still pending. This week Heidi helped us pilot some new satellite tags we are trying. He looked very depressed with the pilot tag placement and did not dive when he was taken out for a swim. The stress behaviours gradually diminished after the removal of tag within 48 hours from placement.

29 May 2022
Heidi is back to his usual self and his travel permit is still pending! Getting a “turtle-passport” is much more complicated than getting a human one!

5 June 2022
Heidi’s travel permit is finally ready! The next step is to arrange his flight to the UK.

12 June 2022
Heidi continues to eat and dive like a champ whilst we work on his travel arrangements to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth,UK – his new forever home!

19 June 2022
Marcus, the curator at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, is currently working on the arrangement of transport options for Heidi.

26 June 2022
We are still working out the logistics of Heidi’s travel arrangements to the UK.

3 July 2022
We have recently received an update for Heidi! He will likely be transferred to the UK in October this year!

10 July 2022
The arrangements for Heidi’s transport to the UK in October are on-going.

17 July 2022
We took full body X-rays and ran Heidi’s bloodwork and shared the findings with the veterinary team at the National Marine Aquarium to prepare for his transfer. Things are slowly moving along!

24 July 2022
Dr Claire and Dr Minnie are in discussions with the veterinary team at the National Marine Aquarium about the latest X-ray and other diagnostic finding to ensure that it is safe for Heidi to travel.

7 August 2022
There are no updates on Heidi’s travel plans as of now. Heidi has been his usual self – diving, eating his meals well, and busy greeting guests whenever approached.

21 August 2022
No new updates on Heidi’s moved for now. He eats and dives well as usual.

28 August 2022
We are still waiting on confirmation for Heid’s big adventure to the UK. In the meantime, he continues to eat and dive.

4 September 2022
Heidi continues to be a favourite amongst our guests and supporters. He particularly enjoyes scrubbing himself with the brushes we place on the side of the tank, but due to his size we do have to assist him with this a little. We shared a video of Heidi wiggling under the brush on social media.

11 September 2022
Heidi has been diving, eating well, and winning the hearts of many guests at the resort as usual.

18 September 2022
Heidi’s transfer to the UK in October has been confirmed! Heidi dives and eats well as usual.

25 September 2022
Heidi continues to be the star of the Rescue Centre, winning the hearts of many guests at the resort! We will surely miss him when he moves the the UK.

2 October 2022
Heidi’s transfer to the UK is expected to happen towards the end of October. As the team prepares for his departure, Heidi continues to be himself, playful and eating well in his tank.

9 October 2022
Heidi is his usual self – eating, diving using his back flippers and continuomg to be the guests’ favorite at the Rescue Centre.

16 October 2022
We have a provisional date of the 31st October for Heidi’s big move to the National Marine Aquarium and preparations are underway. He will be monitored by aquarium staff during his journey.

23 October 2022
Heidi has a new provisional fight day – 1st November. His crate has now been designed and built. The BBC will be covering Heidi’s adventure to his new home!

30 October 2022
Two staff members from the National Marine Aquarium arrived on the island for the preparation of Heidi’s departure this week with two BBC crew members to fully document Heidi’s journey to his new home in the UK.

6 November 2022
This week we said farewell to Heidi! After a long wait, Heidi was safely and successfully transported to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, UK. We received news that Heidi handled the transfer well and is now acclimatising to his new home. For now, he is being monitored closely in a smaller tank, and as soon as the aquarium vet has given him the OK, Heidi can be moved to his forever home in the larger tank.

24 May 2023
It is with a heavy heart that we bring you the unfortunate news of Heidi’s passing. Initially, he settled in nicely at the National Marine Aquarium. However, after several months of treatment and care, Heidi was diagnosed with additional significant medical issues related to his ghost gear entanglement. After all therapeutic options to treat these newly diagnosed conditions were exhausted without success, the National Marine Aquarium made the difficult decision to end Heidi’s suffering last week and euthanised him. As difficult as this news is to convey, we will continue to learn from Heidi’s injuries and disease course so that future patients can benefit from his time under our care.

Heidi was one of our most widely loved patients, delighting almost everyone with his personality. We are grateful to his adopters, who continued to support him through his care. Heidi meant a great deal to you, as he did to our team here at the Olive Ridley Project, but we take peace in knowing that he is no longer suffering.

You can read Heidi’s full story here and an update from the National Marine Aquarium here.

We would like to thank everyone who supported Heidi and made sure he was comfortable and safe during the last few years of his life.