Turtle Patient 154: Tibby, Sub-Adult Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Tibby in her tank. Image.

Tibby was found washed up on the shore at Mabinhura Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll entangled in a ghost net, missing a front flipper.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 28 July 2021
Patient Number: 154
Rescue Location: Lhaviyani Atoll
Reason: Found entangled
Transport Method: Seaplane
Status: Deceased 20 June 2022

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Unkown
Age: Sub-Adult
Length: 57 cm
Weight: 14.9 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Tibby has kindly been adopted by the Future Mr & Mrs Weber, Andrea Wippermann, Chase and Sheryl, for Connie by Nina, by Alexandra & Will Süss, Michaela & Andrew Walton, Stephanie & Johannes Schöberle, Teresa Flegel & Felix Wania, for the Weller family by Helene, by Sabine Oberst, for Rosie by Sophie, by Tanja Schneider, for Stefan by Richard Schmitt & Bianca Felicia Eichhorn, by Heidi & Frank, Kathryn, Barbara Vassalli, for Anke by Michael Paulus, for Wilson by Christy, for Romana & Georg by Andrea, for Luca by Brigita, by Sandro & Selina, and by Daryl & Samantha Cramer.

Tibby’s Story

Mabinhura Resort kindly transferred Tibby to Innahura Resort, from where TMA were able to divert a training flight too transport her directly to us at Coco Palm Dhunikolhu. We are so thankful to all the people involved in transporting these often critical patients.

Tibby was found in a pretty bad way. She is missing both her front right flipper and part of her back right flipper as a result of ghost gear entanglement. As she was entangled, stationary and vulnerable, she seems to have been attacked repeatedly by a shark, resulting in deep wounds to her carapace, plastron and also her back flippers – which have been shredded and left with bone exposure. She has distinct semicircular bite marks on the lower right of her carapace and chunks have been taken from the left side (visible in the photos above).

Her prognosis is guarded, but she has thankfully started to eat a bit – which is encouraging. She will need surgery down the line but we are waiting until he is more stable.

8 August 2021
Tibby is doing really well. She had surgery to sort out some of her major wounds and recovered nicely. She has a very strong will and, although she can’t dive yet, we are hopeful she will work it out soon.

26 August 2021
Tibby is eating really well and attempting to dive for food too. She is on eye drops and wound care regularly and otherwise is doing remarkably well following her harrowing ordeal with the sharks and the net!

7 September 2021
Tibby is eating really well and has been able to dive when on a sea swim. She is now in the large tank and diving well.

12 September 2021
Even with the amount of damage caused to Tibby, she continues to improve her diving and even reached the bottom of her tank this week, stealing Amber’s food while she was down there. This is very encouraging for her journey to recovery.

20 September 2021
Tibby is eating very well and has been able to dive both when on sea swims and for food in her tank. Her eye infection has cleared up well, and so has the wounds on her carapace. She is still receiving regularly wound care, however, she is significantly stronger in the last month and we really are impressed by improvements.

27 September 2021
Tibby is doing a pretty good job at diving for her food these days. She is still a bit slow and awkward but we can definitely see improvement in her maneuverability as she gets more and more used to her situation. We are still holding out hope that she will be releasable eventually! 

4 October 2021
Tibby has been making really good progress week by week. She is learning more and more how to use her back right flipper stump in a meaningful way, and she is able to make quicker and more accurate turns when she is moving around for food. Combined with the recovery of her buoyancy control it bodes very well for a potential release. We will move her to the big tank as soon as we can to maximise the space she has to learn and improve her maneuvering.

10 October 2021
Tibby has been doing well. She went on a sea swim to test her current abilities and she didn’t do too badly, but she still has a way to go before we could consider her releasable. We hope that as she gains more and more weight and muscle mass, and therefore strength, she will be able to maneuver more easily and will be a better candidate for release. She has gained nearly 3kg since she arrived at the end of July, which is great progress.

18 October 2021
Tibby has been moved to the large tank to give her more space to practice her maneuvering and diving. She is no longer on any medication or wound care, she just needs to gain weight and strength to see if she reaches a releasable stage.

24 October 2021
Tibby hasn’t wanted to eat much this week and has been turning her nose up at anything that wasn’t tuna! She has been nice and active though, picky eating aside. We are considering moving her to our Rehabilitation facility at One&Only Reethi Rah so that she can have some more dedicated one-on-one time re-learning how to swim with her unfortunate flipper conformation.

31 October 2021
Tibby is doing well, being active and eating. We will soon be sending her to our Rehabilitation Centre for more practice. Her maneuverability is still an issue but we are still reserving judgement until she has gained weight and had a chance to practice more.

8 November 2021
Tibby is gaining weight steadily and she has a great appetite. We will be taking her on a sea swim this coming week to assess how she’s getting on.

15 November 2021
Tibby had a great beginning of the week and then a slightly off 2 days where she stopped being as interested in food. She had a full check over and some blood drawn and all looked well. We then offered her some shrimp and that seemed to fix everything!

21 November 2021
Tibby was having a few fussy days with her food but she is now back to normal. Her diving is 100% now and her maneuverability is marginally improving. She had a blood sample and her PCV (packed cell volume – a measure of the percentage of red blood cells in the blood) has raised from 10% on admission to 18% which is a good steady increase, meaning she is definitely on the mend. Her protein levels have also increased significantly in line with her improved nutritional status. Tibby will shortly be moving to the Rehabilitation Centre at One&Only Reethi Rah in North Malé Atoll.

28 November 2021
Tibby is eating really well, active and alert and has had some repeat x-rays just to confirm there are no issues prior to moving her to our Rehabiliytation Centre at One&Only Reethi Rah next week. We will miss her hugely at the Rescue Centre but we know she will benefit a lot from the extra space and sea swim time! Especially as we are likely to get busier here at the Rescue Centre in the coming weeks with new patients.

5 December 2021
Tibby is doing very well at the Rehabilitation Centre. She is eating a huge amount of food, around 700g per day, which is amazing to see. We hope she keeps this up and will be heading out for sea swims in the next few days. She also spends most of the time resting at the bottom of the tank, showing she has full control of her buoyancy!

19 December 2021
Tibby is slowly and steadily getting better. She is eating lots and lots – which is great – and spends most of her time at the bottom of the tank. She still struggles to manoeuvre herself around with her lack of flippers, but with time we hope she will gain more strength in her front flipper to help with this.

2 January 2022
Tibby is doing well when in her tank, spending most of the day at the bottom and eating lots of fish. But when she goes for her sea swims, we really see the extent of her injuries. She struggles against the lightest currents and tends to just drift. We will keep taking her out and feeding her up to see if she can build up some more muscle.

9 January 2022
We are not seeing any real improvement in Tibby at the moment. she is still eating well and gaining weight slowly, but she still struggles with her single working flipper.

16 January 2022
Tibby is the same as usual, eating well and resting at the bottom of the tank most of the day.

23 January 2022
Tibby continues to eat very well and is maintaining a good weight.

6 March 2022
Tibby continues to be stable and we are hoping to take her out on some sea swims to assess her again, however, it does appear that she is going to significantly struggle to swim. We continue to remain hopeful, but realistic to the prospect that she may not be releasable.

20 March 2022
Tibby is not eating quite as much as before but her weight is stable and she still uses her one remaining flipper lots to move around. Unfortunately, she is not getting any stronger in terms of swimming against currents.

27 March 2022
Tibby continues to eat well but still is too weak to go back into the sea on her own.

3 April 2022
Tibby’s appetite goes up and down at the moment; some days she eats lots and other days she doesn’t eat at all. This is okay for her as she is continuing to keep a steady weight. She now has the Rehabilitation Centre to herself and spends most of her day resting at the bottom.

10 April 2022
Tibby has lost a bit of weight over the past week, currently weighing 18kg, so we shall be feeding her a bit more to try and get her weight back up. She continues to rest at the bottom of the tank and has recently been spotted using the brushes attached to the wall of her tank to scrub herself! We hope to see more of this behaviour over the coming weeks.

17 April 2022
Tibby is still our only patient at the Rehabilitation Centre and at the moment and her condition is stable. She still spends most of her time at the bottom of the tank and her eating is up and down depending on the day.

24 April 2022
Tibby continues to dive well and has been eating lots of tiger prawns and crabs this week to ensure her calcium levels are healthy. The moment she sees the prawns hit the water she darts over to catch them!

8 May 2022
Tibby has begun to eat better again and is back up to 18.4kg in weight – which is a great sign. She continues to struggle in the currents but has been training in the tank with strong jets to try and increase her strength and swimming ability. Dr. Claire will be visiting the Rehabilitation Centre this week to check on Tibby and assess her progress.

22 May 2022
Tibby has been struggling the past week or so and has also refused the majority of food offered to her. She pooped out two whole lobster legs a few days ago and started to eat a little bit more since then, but she will still be heading to the Rescue Centre soon for a check-up with Dr. June.

29 May 2022
This week we swapped Tibby and Kalo; Kalo is now at the Rehabilitation Centre and Tibby has gone go the Rescue Centre so Dr June can do some tests. Tibby was upset in the tank on her first day but we eventually found her resting comfortably at the bottom of the tank the next day. She is eating well.

5 June 2022
Tibby stopped eating and appeared lethargic over the past 2-3 days. Diagnostic plans have been scheduled to further investigate her health status.

12 June 2022
Tibby has stopped eating completely for at least a week now and has progressively lost body condition over time. She seems lethargic and we often see her with her eyes closed.

19 June 2022
Tibby has been deteriorating drastically over the last week. We are planning to place a feeding tube for nutritional support, however, given her current energy level and health status, there is a high anesthetic risk and complication involved in the procedure. The prognosis is grave at this stage.

21 June 2022
We placed a feeding tube for Tibby yesterday. The anesthesia was smooth until the very end when her heart rate started fluctuating. During the procedure, we discovered that she had severe liver damage suggesting poor prognosis for recovery. We eventually decided not to recover her.

Her necropsy findings strongly supported our very difficult decision; both liver lobes were friable and enlarged with massive pus discharge. There were also multiple constricted segments along her gastric cavity, cranial intestines, and colon. She had lost both flippers on the same side and was therefore not releasable.Sadly we were not able to help Tibby and we hope she is in a better place now.