ORP Turtle Patient Update Issue 1|2021

Last Updated: January 27, 2021


Ash – Arrived 27 November, Released 29 December 2020

Turtle patient Ash released and back in the big blue. Image.
Ash back where she belongs – in the big blue.

Ash was doing so well, eating very keenly, swimming well and pooping, but not plastic! She was released on 29 December 2020. We took her out on boat full of well wishers and she swam off happily, needing no encouragement. Good luck, Ash!

New Arrivals

Shellma – Arrived 16 January 2021

Ghost gear victim Shellma, olive ridley turtle. Image.
Shellma self amputated her from right flipper

Shellma is an adult female olive ridley. She was found entangled in a ghost net near Soneva Jani Resort in Noonu Atoll, already missing one of her front flippers. She arrived at the Rescue Centre by speedboat from Soneva Jani Resort via Soneva Fushi Resort. Shellma had self-amputated her right front flipper during her struggle to free herself from the ghost net and only has some exposed bone left. In addition, her back right flipper has a historic – and already healed below the knee – amputation. So this is likely not her first encounter with a ghost net.

Shellma was mildly buoyant when she arrived. She was also a little anaemic, so we gave her iron injections before she was scheduled for surgery. We removed Shellma’s infected stump/bone in a successful procefure last Saturday. She was a little slow to recover but came round well and was happily swimming by Sunday morning. Her appetite is good and her wound looks great. We are waiting to find her sleeping on the bottom again like she was doing before surgery. When her stitches are out in 4 weeks, she will be released!

Kraken – Arrived 8 January 2021

Turtle pateint Kraken in the tank at ORP Turtle Rescue Centre. Image.

Kraken is another adult female olive ridley. She is was found floating by the dock in Thilafushi, an artificial island near the capital island of Malé that handles waste disposal.

Kraken is huge and was too heavy for the sea plane! She therefore undertook an epic journey to get to us, all coordinated by our intern at the time, Jinaad. Many friends of his banded together to construct her a box, pick her up and drop her off at the airport, and even care for her overnight before she could make it to our Rescue Centre.

She has old injuries to the underside of her flippers that are a little bit of a mystery. They’ve rendered her left flipper pretty immobile, so we hope that with surgery and physio, we can help her regain the use of it. She is also significantly buoyant, likely due to the length of time she has been unwell. Kraken weighs in at 35kg with a curved carapace length of 71.2cm – living up to her sea monster name!

It required 3 people to haul Kraken out of her tank for her diagnostic tests! Her x-rays show that her front flipper wounds are soft tissue only, so the bones are looking healthy. Unfortunately she does have a very large crack on her plastron (lower shell). This is going to be difficult to repair as she has a lot of trapped air under her shell, causing it to bulge out and putting more pressure on the crack. Kraken is not eating so she is on regular fluids as well as antibiotics and pain relief while her surgery is planned for. Before we fix the crack in her plastron we need to try and reduce the amount of air on her shell, as the excessive amount is pushing her plastron out and making the crack near impossible to bring together.

Nouvelle (Noo Noo) – Arrived 6 January 2021

Turtle patient Nouvelle swimming in her tank. Image.
Nouvelle swimming in her tank

Nouvelle, (known as Noo Noo) was found in Lhaviyani Atoll. The ghost net had nearly fully claimed her left flipper, leaving only a bit of bone hanging out. She is a bright, active and fiesty little thing. She had surgery to remove the last bit of her flipper, and has since recovered superbly. However, her surgery was not as smooth as we would have liked! The first time Dr Minnie tried to anaesthetise her she refused to go to sleep sufficiently for surgery. The second try was successful and her wound is already looking excellent, although there is some palpable inflammation of the muscle underneath. However, she doesn’t seem bothered by this at all so it won’t be an impediment to a timely release!

She is bright and active, eating really well, diving, like a champ, and – most importantly of all – is regularly sleeping on the bottom of the tank! This means that once her stitches come out in 3-4 weeks, she will be ready for release! 

The Resident Patients

Harry – Arrived 20 December 2020

Turtle patient Harry is almost to large for the wheel barrow. Image
Harry is almost to large for the wheel barrow!

Harry is still critical; he has had two surgical procedures, one to investigate his abnormal digestive system, and another to insert a feeding tube through his oesophagus and down into his stomach. The first procedure didn’t reveal any blockages as far as we were able to examine, which was great news. He won’t eat on his own so we are now feeding him blended fish via his tube twice a day and he does seem marginally brighter – but it is very early days. We will continue supportive care rather than targeted therapy, as the cause of his issues are still unclear. We are lucky to have the person who first found Harry, returning as a volunteer on the 31st of January!

Xena – Arrived 1 November 2020

Turtle patinet Xena coming up for air. ORP Turtle Rescue Centre. Image.
Xena coming up for air.

Xena continues to improve and eat voraciously – she now weighs 17.2kg. We are aiming for at least 20kg so she is doing great! She completed a course of antibiotics for her bone and lung infection, but she has been off antibiotics for a week and a bit now, her only medication being good food!

We took Xena on her first ever sea swim this week. She got started immediately, no delay at all once her plastron hit the sea! She tried to dive the whole time but unfortunately her buoyancy is a problem. This might take time to resolve, as we have seen with some of our other patients.

Discovery – Arrived 7th February 2020

Turtle patient Disco enjoying a spa day at ORP Turtle Rescue Centre. Image.
Disco enjoying a spa day.

Disco developed an eye ulcer and it seemed to have come out of nowhere. We started her on a regime of eye drops 3-4 times a day, dropping down to twice a day after seeing excellent improvement. She didn’t eat during her eye drop regimen, probably as she was really resenting all the interaction we have with her to give her the eye drops! Luckily her appetite picked right back up once her eye ulcer was sorted out.

Last week Disco had a procedure to remove air from under her shell. We removed 500mls, but it hasn’t made any noticeable or significant difference as of yet. We will continue to try once a week for a month to see if any changes can be noted.

Azura – Arrived 2nd April 2019

Turtle patient Azura coming up for air, ORP Rescue Centre. Image.
Azura coming up for air.

Azura has been doing really well. She has been off antibiotics for a month now and the use of her flipper remains the same, so that’s great – she seems back to normal. She recently had a follow up X-ray of her elbow which showed that her bone is looking good. There are no signs that the infection is still active.

On her first sea swim in the new year, Azura was a bit unsure and took a while to get going, but it has been quite a while since she’s been out. When she finally did, she attempted a few dives but nothing spectacular. She did seem to be using her flipper well though, so we are committed to getting her diving now that her elbow is sorted. She continues to be a favourite at the Rescue Centre for her keenness to be where everyone is by the side of her tank.

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Turtle patient Heidi in his tank at ORP Rescue Centre. Image.
Heidi happily posing for a picture.

Heidi is as wonderful as ever, gaining a lot of adopters for just being an all around swell guy. He is continuing his illustrious tradition of being the most popular turtle in the Rescue Centre; lots of guests falling in love with his beguiling charm. He is still on slightly reduced food due to his slightly expanding size!

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