Turtle Patient 239: Karaa, Adult Male Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Karaa, a flipper amputee, recovering in the tank at the Rescue Centre. Image.

Karaa, a male adult olive ridley turtle, was discovered entangled in a ghost net by the team at Fairmont Siru Fen Fushi in Shaviyani Atoll.

The Vitals

Admission Date: 11 March 2024
Patient Number: 239
Rescue Location: Shaviyani Atoll
Reason: Found Entangled
Transport Method: Seaplanes
Status: Current patient

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Male
Age: Adult
Length: 71.6 cm
Weight: 36.5 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Karaa has been kindly adopted by Helen for Mark, by the Mayes family, by Nadine and by Christine.

Karaa’s Story

Karaa, a male adult olive ridley turtle, was discovered entangled in a ghost net by the team at Fairmont Siru Fen Fushi in the Lhaviyani Atoll. They quickly called Neus, our sea turtle biologist based on the island. Under the guidance of the veterinary team, she took care of Karaa for a day whilst travel arrangements were made. The following day, Karaa was transferred to the Rescue Centre by seaplane, kindly sponsored by Trans Maldivian Airways.

The name ‘Karaa’ was inspired by the Dhivehi word for “watermelon,” symbolizing an essential source of energy and hydration, particularly during Ramadan. After a thorough health assessment, it was revealed that Karaa had suffered a severe ligature injury to his left front flipper, resulting in a shattered humerus. Despite efforts to salvage the flipper over several days, the damage was deemed irreparable, leading to the decision for amputation. Fortunately, the procedure was successful, and Karaa has been progressing well since then, showing a healthy appetite and renewed energy.

We remain optimistic about Karaa’s full recovery! As our largest turtle at the Rescue centre and our only fully grown male, he holds a special place in our efforts to rehabilitate and protect these remarkable creatures.

7 April 2024
Karaa recovered well from the surgery. We are now giving him dive training using submersible buoys and Targeted External Weight Therapy (TEWT). Karaa’s healthy appetite and determination have enabled him to achieve successful dives to the bottom of the tank. However, he is still working on extending the duration for which he can stay submerged. As our largest turtle at the Rescue Centre and our only fully grown male, he holds a special place in our hearts.

12 May 2024
Unfortunately, Karaa experienced a setback this past month. He developed swelling over his right elbow, which has progressed into a focal bone infection—a common occurrence in olive ridleys that have been entangled. As a result, he has been spending most of his time at the surface. We have had to regress on his buoy feeding sessions until he feels more comfortable and the infection is under control.

9 June 2024
Karaa has shown some improvement this month. Although his elbow remains swollen from the focal bone infection, there has been no further progression and he has now begun to use the right flippers again. There is still a way to go, so we continue to monitor the bone infection and provide pain relief through the use of laser therapy, but we are glad to see him improving. Karaa’s appetite has improved, so we have now restarted some dive training with deep tong feeding sessions.

Adopt Karaa

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

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

We ask for a minimum one time gift donation of £50 to adopt a turtle patient. £50 will contribute to the cost of medical therapy for one patient for two weeks. You can also choose to make a monthly donation of your choice.

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.