Turtle Patient 227: Iru, Juvenile Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Iru recovering at the Rescue Centre. Image.

Iru was found entangled in the same ghost net as Bulbul. They were found by the Odi Watersports team based at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, the resort where we are based, in Baa Atoll.

The Vitals

Admission Date: 16 December 2023
Patient Number: 227
Rescue Location: Baa Atoll
Reason: Found Entangled
Transport Method: Speedboat
Status: Current patient

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Unknown
Age: Juvenile
Length: 56 cm
Weight: 17.6 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Iru has been kindly adopted by Giulia and Corina, Anna Bacci, Laura, Gabriela Schänzle, Chris Smith, Sven Schubert & Jenni Brückner, by Torsten Unger, by Eric & Karina Berger and by Kay Braithwaite.

Iru’s Story

Iru, which is the Dhivehi name for “sun”, is a juvenile olive ridley that was found entangled in the same ghost net as Bulbul by the Odi Watersports team based at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu (where we are based) in Baa Atoll. They promptly called our veterinary team, who carefully disentangled both turtles and safely retrieved them off the water.

Iru had previously suffered from a boat strike injury to both his carapace and plastron, as those injuries have mostly healed. This time around, he got entangled in a large ghost net which caused deep ligature injuries to both hind flippers and right front flipper.

His blood work is showing signs of infection and the veterinary team has already started him on medical therapy to treat this. Iru is being stabilised to undergo surgery soon. He is settling in his ICU tank well, has seen resting on the bottom and has been eating really well.

8 January 2024
Despite his injuries, Iru has adapted well to his new environment, finding comfort resting on the bottom of the tank and displaying a remarkable appetite. He has undergone debridement surgery for his wounds, along with platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) in combination with photobiomodulation (PBM).

11 February 2024
Iru has shown remarkable progress in the past month. His carapace and plastron injuries have nearly healed completely and his right hind flipper is now fully recovered with the fracture stabilising. While we continue to monitor his right front flipper closely, the large defect is responding positively to our regular wound cleaning and cold laser therapy sessions, granting him full use of all four flippers. Iru remains one of our most active patients, displaying curiosity about his surroundings, a voracious appetite, and no difficulty resting on the bottom.

12 March 2024
Iru’s right front flipper continues to heal at an exceptional rate. Since all his other injuries have healed completely, we are now using cold laser therapy only on the remaining lesion. Iru is diving skilfully and maintaining a healthy appetite. Interestingly, he seems to have embraced sharing his space with Bulbul and is exhibiting a calmer demeanour, coinciding with improved weather conditions.

7 April 2024
Iru is doing well and keeping his voracious appetite. Interestingly, he is showing curiosity towards Bulbul’s presence in the neighbouring tank, now that both the turtles are sleeping at the bottom. His injuries are almost fully healed, and we are looking forward to discontinuing his medical therapy and assessing his response in the coming month.

12 May 2024
We have taken Iru off all medical treatment and he consistently shows normalised blood values and X-rays. He remains one of the most inquisitive turtles at the Rescue Centre, eagerly exploring the Environmental Enrichment Devices (EEDs) we introduce into his enclosure.
We’re optimistic that Iru will maintain his natural behaviours as we progress into the final stage of his rehabilitation journey.

9 June 2024
Iru continue to do well. All her health checks show a clean bill of health and her wounds have completely healed. She has now started to try to outsmart the team with her keen evasion skills!

14 June 2024
Iru’s last health check confirmed she is ready to be released – and right on time to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day on June 16th!