ORP Turtle Patient Update Issue 2 | 2018


Current Patients in Residence

Penny, Isla, Heidi, ChouchouJuanita & Nadia

New & Old Arrivals: Juanita, Shaarvdah and Nadia

In September we welcomed two new arrivals from Marine Savers Landaa Giravaaru, Juanita and Shaarvdah, and also welcomed back Nadia from Juvenile Naifau.


Olive ridley turtle patient ORP rescue centre Maldives

Juanita is a chronically buoyant young Olive ridley turtle who has been in at Marine Savers Landaa Giravaaru for more than a year. She has so much air inside her that one side of her shell is completely out of the water.

The trapped air in her shell has also caused her to grow to a more rounded shape compared to other turtles. The trauma of being entangled in ghost gear has most likely caused tears in her lungs. This means that every time she takes a breath, air escapes her lungs and inflates her shell, from where it cannot escape.

Turtles need to be able to dive for food and rest to survive in the wild, therefore turtles with buoyancy syndrome cannot be released. Juanita will be a long term patient at the ORP Rescue Centre until we need the space, when she will be moved again to another rescue centre.

Juanita is very active in our tanks. Her favourite time of day is feeding time; she’s a very hungry turtle she but is on a diet at the moment due to her larger than normal size!


Olive ridley turtle patient Maldives

Shaarvdah, a very large adult Olive ridley, was emaciated when she arrived at the Rescue Centre. Despite being the largest turtle ever to arrive with us, with a shell length of 73 cm, she only weighed 25kg. A  turtle of her size should weigh around 40kg. Shaarvdah had been at Marine Savers Landaa Giravaaru for a few months without eating and lost 10 kilos whilst she was there.

After two days of not eating with us, and no energy reserves left, we made the decision to place a feeding tube into her stomach using sedation. Her body was so weak that even a small amount of sedation took its toll on her. Unfortunately died 24 hours later.

At post-mortem we discovered one of the worst cases of pneumonia that we had ever seen, which would explain her dramatic weight loss.


Ghost gear victim Olive ridley turtle Maldives

Nadia, a ghost net victim, was our patient from February to May 2017. She arrived with an injured front right flipper and severe lacerations to her neck. We tried to save her flipper, but, unfortunately, we had to eventually remove it.

After successfully recovering from surgery at the rescue centre, she was transferred to Juvenile Naifaru for further rehabilitation. Nadia suffered from severe buoyancy syndrome and was unable to dive.

She has been buoyant the whole time she has been at Juvenile Naifaru. However, in the last few weeks she was spotted spending more time underwater and even starting to dive! She has come back to us to spend time in our large tank in the hope she can completely overcome her buoyancy.

Since arriving Nadia has unfortunately been very buoyant; it is likely that the long boat journey here stressed her out, worsening the buoyancy. She is not managing to dive down after food at all. She also has a very swollen eye, which has been a problem over the last year. We are treating her with eye ointment, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and vitamin supplementation to try and cure this condition.



Turtle patient Shelley catching a bite to eat ORP turtle rescue centre Maldives

Shelley is a young Olive ridley turtle who was found by W Maldives resort staff in Ari Atoll in August. She was completely entangled in a ghost net that had caused severe damage to her back flippers. Unfortunately, we had to amputate both the back flippers. In addition, Shelley also had a bad cut to both sides of her moth, on one side the wound was so deep that she needed stitches.

She recovered well from her surgery and a broken finger in one of her front flippers. After a few weeks at the rescue centre, Shelley started diving again and once we were sure she was ready, we released her back to the ocean.

The Resident Patients