All Turtle Patients

Meet Juanita

Juanita is a subadult Olive ridley sea turtle, who was found in in South Male atoll in July 2017. Since then she has been at Marine Savers Landaa Giravaaru. She is chronically buoyant and was transferred to us in the hope that she will overcome her buoyancy in our large tank.

Intake Date: 9th September 2018
Length: 49 cm
Weight: 12.55 kg
Status: Transferred to Atoll Marine Centre 4th March 2019 for further rehabilitation. After more than 3 years at AMC, Juanita was brought back to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre on April 26, 2022 for an endoscopy procedure to investigate her buoyancy issue. The endoscopy findings of her lung condition were much worse than that of Discovery, which led us to the decision to not recover her from anesthesia. The necropsy revealed thickened, fibrosed lung tissues with multiple nodular pockets filled with pasty black discharge, which suggested a grave prognosis and chronicity of a lung disease. Both Discovery and Juanita’s cases are strong examples of the importance of histopathology, which would give us an idea about the etiology of the disease process. It’ll be great to have some formalin available in the clinic so that we can save the samples of similar cases for research purposes and future references.

Juanita has been adopted by Anna Hunting-Young, Yvonne Perret, Rieke and Leonard Küper

Juanita has so much air inside her that one side of her shell is completely out of the water. The trapped air has also caused her to grow into a more rounded shape compared to other turtles. She recently had an X-ray which showed that her shell is filled with air from a likely lung tear. This was probably caused by the trauma of being entangled in ghost gear. As a consequence, every time she breathes, air escapes her lungs and inflates her shell, from where it cannot escape.

It also appears Juanita has a lung bulla, which is a pocket of air in the lung, that also contributes to her buoyancy. This gives her a bad prognosis for recovering from buoyancy syndrome.

Juanita was very active in our tanks. Her favourite time of day is feeding time; she’s a very hungry turtle sohad to put her on a diet due to her larger than normal size!

Turtles with buoyancy syndrome cannot be released. To survive in the wild, turtle need to be able to dive – something they are unable to do when they suffer from buoyancy. Juanita was transferred to Atoll Marine Centre where she will probably be a long term resident. There is nothing else medically wrong with her, and we needed the space for new and critical patients.