Turtle Patient 176: Mariyambu, Adult Female Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Mariyambu with bandaged right flipper.

Mariyambo was found washed on shore at Como Maalifushi resort in Thaa Atoll. She is desperately weak and underweight (at least 15kg less than she should be), but without any external injuries.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 29 January 2022
Patient Number: 176
Rescue Location: Thaa Atoll
Reason: Found washed up on shore
Transport Method: Seaplane
Status: Deceased 1 March 2022

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Female
Age: Adult
Length: 65.2 cm
Weight: 20 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Mariyambu has kindly been adopted by Marc.

Mariyambu’s Story

Mariyambu is an adult female olive ridley that was found washed into shore at Como Maalifushi resort in Thaa Atoll. She is desperately weak and underweight (at least 15 kg less than she should be), but without any external injuries. Her X-rays haven’t flagged up anything inside her intestines that we can see, so it’s a little uncertain what has caused her poor physical state. We give her daily fluids to rehydrate her. We will complete full diagnostics including a blood sample to check for infection and an ultrasound to confirm no intestinal obstructions. For now she is stable and pretty settled, and is starting to show interest in food.

6 February 2022
Mariyambu is having daily fluids to supplement her hydration while she isn’t eating. Although there is no physical reason why she can’t open her mouth, she only seems to move her mouth minimally when food is offered to her. Otherwise she is relatively stable.

13 February 2022
Mariyambu is on fluids every 48 hrs to supplement her hydration levels as she still isn’t eating. She has had repeat X-rays of her jaw to try and identify if there is anything unusual going on that would explain why she cannot seem to open her mouth. She has bouts of activity, but in general she is quite subdued at the moment. She is on pain relief and antibiotics which do seem to be helping slightly.

20 February 2022
Mariyambu has remained stable but weak and due to lack of food intake for the last 2 weeks, she has lost a kilogram. We keep investigating and repeated X-rays and assessments suggest there may be something in her oesophagus that shouldn’t be there.We did an endoscopic assessment that didn’t flag up any obstructions, but an attempt to insert a feeding tube failed. The tubes we have are too soft for her size and they kept kinking, so we had to remove them again. This is very frustrating as we really need to get her some nutrition onboard as soon as possible. Dr Minnie is working hard to try and source an appropriate sized tube that can be brought out with one of our upcoming volunteers. In the mean time she receives regular medication and fluids.

1 March 2022
Mariyambu tragically passed away today. Her loss hit the team hard as we had put so much effort into trying to save her over the last few weeks. However, she ended up having one of the most serious surgical reproductive issues Dr Minnie has seen so far in any of our turtle patients. It turns out her left oviduct (the tube that the eggs travel through) had developed a huge infection that was filled with old rotting shells and eggs, weighing at least 500g.

It’s unclear how this developed but we suspect blunt trauma resulted in a hole forming in the suspensory ligaments and that a part of the oviduct fell through and became trapped and cut off, resulting in the eggs being unable to pass normally. Unfortunately, the procedure was very challenging, and she did lose blood due to the challenge of visualising the arteries that supply the ovaries. Between that, the severe sepsis from her infected reproductive tract, and her poor metabolic and nutritional state, we are sad to say she did not wake up from anaesthetic despite Dr Minnie being able to get her back once with adrenaline and manual ventilation. It’s always a tragedy not being able to save reproductive active adults, but we are glad she is no longer suffering.