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Turtle Patient 138: Seaheart, Adult Male Olive Ridley

Olive ridley ghost net victim at ORP turtle rescue centre. Image.
Seaheart, an adult male olive ridley

Seaheart was found entangled in a ghost net in Lhaviyani Atoll and brought to our friends at the Atoll Marine Centre, who sent him to us.

Intake Date: 22 February 2021
Patient Number: 138
Rescue Location: Lhaviyani Atoll
Reason: Ghost net entanglement
Transport Method: Seaplane
Status: Released 27 April 2021

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Male
Age: Adult
Length: 64.6 cm
Weight: 26.75 kg

Seaheart has kindly been adopted for James by Janeen, by Rachel Dow, for Stefan by Teresa, for Franziska by Carina & Maximilian, by Michaela and Andrew Walton, and by Melynda.

Seaheart arrived at the Rescue Centre on the 22nd February after quite the epic and stressful journey, but he made it safely! His left flipper will need amputation while his right is quite damaged but will be salvageable. Thankfully, he can dive and rest on the bottom of the tank, so fingers crossed once he is all healed up, he can be released!

7 March 2021
Seaheart recovered well from his surgery but remains a bit lethargic, which is to be expected considering his anaemia. He has started to eat a bit and we are getting him out daily for wound care, specifically of his right front flipper, which we need to work very hard to save.

15 March 2021
Seaheart has been on daily wound care and he is using his flipper much better this week; he is able to dive more easily and fluidly. We are dropping wound care down to every 2 days for now to avoid stressing him out too much. He has started to eat more consistently.

22 March 2021
Seaheart’s wound is looking great, filling in really really well, and he is using his flipper completely normally now. He is eating well too! He will be due a repeat blood sample next week and then we are looking at releasing him not long after that.

29 March 2021
Seaheart is doing wonderfully this week! His right flipper – that we have been closely monitoring – is looking so much better. Although, there is still a large defect around the bone that needs to fill in. It will take a few more weeks to heal sufficiently to consider release, but we are really happy with his progress.

4 April 2021
Seaheart had x-rays this week to monitor how all his flippers are healing; all of them still have exposed bone due to how deep the cuts were. Thankfully, all his bones look normal on the x-ray, so they’ve not been compromised by the prolonged healing phase. We continue to clean and debride (remove the dead tissue) the wounds every few days, which he is not a fan of, but thankfully it is all worth it, as they look excellent.

11 April 2021
Seaheart is doing really well. His wound is healing beautifully and he is a lot less picky with his food these days! We have started to use honeycomb to pack his wound to really good effect, and he is tolerating his bandage changes well. He did have a bit of a swelling to his amputation site, though. This turned out to be due to excess joint fluid. Thankfully, we are confident it will reabsorb in the next few weeks and shouldn’t cause him issues.

18 April 2021
Seaheart’s wounds are looking 90% of the way there, getting better by the day! He has been having wound care every 2-3 days where he comes out of the tank, has all his wounds cleaned and disinfected and then packed with healing honey, and any bad old tissue is removed. He is eating a lot and is generally very bright. He will be having follow up bloods next week and, if all is looking well and his infection has been cleared, then we will be able to clear him for release!

25 April 2021
Seaheart has been cleared for release! His infection is fully cleared, his wounds are 95% there, and he has completely normal range of motion in all 3 remaining flippers. He will be released on Tuesday 27th April 2021. 

27 April 2021
Seaheart was released today. He got a little stressed on the boat journey to the release spot, so he took a few minutes on the surface to regain control of his breath, but he finally dived down and went back home where he belongs. Good luck Seaheart – we will miss you!