ORP Turtle Patient Update Issue 2 | 2021

The Rescue Centre is running at more than max capacity with 10 turtle patients in house. Since the last update we have had 2 releases, 9 new arrivals and, sadly, 5 patients who passed away.



Shellma – Arrived 16 January, Released 18 February 2021

Turtle patient Shellma coming up for air. Image.
Shellma in her tank.

Shellma’s wound healed up nicely, she ate well and dived with no problem. She was released after just over a month at the Rescue Centre. We took her out into the deep by boat and, at first, she took a little while to get her bearings and catch her breath. But soon enough – to the cheers of a boat full of well-wishers – she dived down and disappeared into the big blue. Good luck, Shellma!

Nouvelle – Arrived 6 January, Released 8 February 2021

Turtle patient Nouvelle coming up for air. Image.
Nouvelle coming up for air

Nouvelle (Noo Noo) also recovered from her injuries and flipper surgery in just over a month and was released at the beginning of February. She hung around on the surface a little bit before she finally dived down. Stay safe, Noo Noo!

New Arrivals

Thari – Arrived 4 March 2021

Turtle patient Thari in the rescue centre tank. Image.

Thari came from our partner resort One & Only Reethi Rah, where she was found floating and already missing her left forelimb. She has some historic damage to her carapace, and in areas it is soft and quite abnormal. She is quite buoyant because of these injuries. Not only has ghost gear claimed her left flipper, but she also has signs of ligature marks around her neck, so she’s lucky she wasn’t strangled. Thari is eating well, which is encouraging, but it remains to be seen if her buoyancy issues will resolve. 

Cal – Arrived 4 March 2021

Turtle patient Cal in the tank. Image.
Turtle patient Cal

Cal arrived via speedboat quite suddenly one afternoon. A friend of one of Coco Palm’s resort staff found him entangled in some rope and cement bagging 3 minutes away from the resort! Dr Minnie ran to the jetty to find this poor juvenile olive ridley turtle with a severe right flipper constriction wound.

X-rays revealed his humerus bone was fractured in at least 2 places. It remains to be seen if it can be salvaged, but we are giving him some time, medications and good food to see what happens in the next week or so.

Rehendi – Arrived 3 March 2021

Olive ridley turtle patient Rehendi, right profile. Image.

Rehendhi is an adult female olive ridley turtle, who has been named after a powerful female ruler of the Maldives from the 13th century! Rehendi has a triple whammy of problems; she is buoyant, she has a substantial crack in her carapace and she has a fish hook in her oesophagus which took us totally by surprise on the x-ray. But she has all four flippers! She had surgery on Saturday to remove the fish hook and surgically clean up her carapace fractures and, thankfully, she is already eating really well post surgery.

Amber – Arrived 2 March 2021

Turtle patient Amber being placed in the tank by volunteer Jade. Image.
Turtle patient Amber and volunteer Jade

Amber was named by our volunteer, Jade, who picked it because Amber is a healing stone and this little turtle needs some good vibes! Amber is a juvenile olive ridley who was found floating in South Ari Atoll, already missing her left forelimb. On her x-rays, she has a small amount of trapped air, but otherwise seems quite well in herself, if quite skinny and undernourished. We will feed her up and monitor for any change in buoyancy. Luckily, she is eating very well.

Seaheart – Arrived 22 February 2021

Olive ridley turtle patient Seaheart in closeup. Image.

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. He is an adult male olive ridley and arrived at the Rescue Centre after quite the epic and stressful journey – but he made it safely! His left flipper needed amputation while his right is quite damaged. He 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. 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!


Kalani – Arrived 13 February, Deceased 2 March 2021

Turtle patient Kalani popping up for air. Image.

Kalani, a sub-adult olive ridley, was found flouting in the open ocean beyond Hurawalhi Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll. She had no obvious external wounds at all, but there was a lot of air under her shell and she was very buoyant. She also appeared to have an infection of her large intestine and colon, but was otherwise looking in good health.

Unfortunately, Kalani died as a result of her advanced buoyancy issues that had led to a collapsed lung and a torn liver.

Bo (Boy) – Arrived 15 February, Deceased 16 February 2021

Hawksbill turtle patient in clinic. Image.Bo was a juvenile hakwsbill found floating near soneva jani resort, she was sent to naifaru overnight for fluids and dextrose and then got onto a very early flight to arrive with us at the rescue centre by 10am on the 15th. Unfortunately however she was very weak, and didn't respond to any of the interventions tried. She died overnight. Her post mortem unfortunstely didn't elucidate her cause of death, but it must have been something very recent as she still had food in her stomach so was eating recently.

Bo (Boy) was a juvenile hakwsbill found floating near Soneva Jani Resort in Noonu Atoll. She was sent to Atoll Marine Centre at Naifaru in Lhaviyani Atoll overnight for fluids and dextrose, and then got onto a very early flight to arrive with us at the Rescue Centre the next morning. Unfortunately, she was very weak, and didn’t respond to any of the interventions we tried and died overnight. Her post mortem unfortunately didn’t elucidate her cause of death, but it must have been something very recent as she still had food in her stomach so was eating recently.

Ugo – Arrived 23 February, Deceased 26 February 2021

Turtle patient Ugo, right profile. Image.
Turtle patient Ugo

Ugo, a juvenile olive ridley, was found floating in the open ocean near Kudafushi Resort in Raa Atoll. He travelled in style on a direct flight to the Rescue Centre and arrived late morning on the 23rd February. He was very buoyant and looked like he had been floating for a long time based on the waterline and algae growth on his shell. X-rays confirmed that he had substantial lung tears.

Just a few days after he arrived at the Rescue Centre, Ugo died suddenly from his internal injuries. It is very sad to know that Ugo almost made it to adulthood, only to be entangled in ghost net, even briefly, and it caused his death. It goes to show how dangerous ghost gear is on so many levels. Although limb injuries are most common, it can cause serious internal injuries too.

Ollie – Arrived 19 February, Deceased 15 February 2021

Turtle patient Ollie. Image.
Turtle patient Ollie

Ollie, a sub-adult olive ridley, was found floating near The Barefoot Eco Hotel, Hanimaadhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll in the far north of the Maldives. He had some very light wounds on his front right flipper that indicated entanglement, but he wasn’t found in a net. He looked uncannily like Kalani and also had a very similar presentation – with almost exactly the same degree of buoyancy problems.

Ollie died suddenly over night. A postmortem revealed that he had severe internal injuries; he had tears in both his liver and lungs. Though his injuries did not indicate that he had been entangled for a long time, the struggle for freedom caused so much damage his life could not be saved.

Kraken – Arrived 8 January 2021, Deceased 10 February 2021

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

Kraken refused to eat on her own. We tried to remove air from her shell twice to increase her comfort levels, but didn’t manage either time. She underwent surgery to clean up her wounds and have a feeding tube placed. In the end she didn’t need as much surgery to her wounds as we initially thought, as many of them were already healing well and had been doing for a long while. She recovered really well from the anaesthetic and was doing well. She also had daily physio to try and reduce the contracture of her front flippers.

We were trying to resolve Kraken’s buoyancy issues before tackling her cracked plastron and the feeding tube ensured we could nutritionally support her while sorting out her various issues. But, sadly, Kraken passed away as a result of her injuries. She had a major infection to do with her prolonged time floating at sea.

The Resident Patients

Harry – Arrived 20 December 2020

Left profile of turtle patient Harry. Image.
Harry in his tank

Harry has had the feeding tube in now since the 21st of January and he is not only diving, but also resting and staying on the bottom of the tank! It means he is feeling better for sure. He has also started to pass more normal faeces more regularly. At the end of February we took Harry on a sea swim. Even though he is still refusing to eat on his own and spends time in the tank looking lethargic, he absolutely blew our socks of in the sea! He cruised along and did amazingly well. We hope he will start eating on his own so we will be able to released him soon.

Xena – Arrived 1 November 2020

Turtle patient Xena laughing. Image.
Looks like Xena is having a laugh but she is actually trying to bite her tank.

Xena now weighs 18.2 kg, steadily getting closer to her target weight of 20 kg. She spends her time zooming around the tank, full of energy, but she is still struggling with her buoyancy. She is trying to dive a lot in the tank, so there is no lack of trying on her part.

Discovery – Arrived 7th February 2020

Turtle patient Disco in his tank. Image.
Disco in his tank.

Poor Disco has not been 100% recently. She has been steadily losing weight and her appetite is a bit too variable for our liking. She had a blood test that didn’t reveal anything particularly exciting, but we have noted that she has some inflammation to the lining of her cloaca, so we suspect she has a gastrointestinal infection. She has been started on antibiotics for the infection and she does seem to be doing better – brighter and more active. She is more consistent with her eating, which is always good, although she has gone right off her favourite skin-on tuna and only likes reef fish! We just can’t keep up with her whims!

Azura – Arrived 2nd April 2019

Turtle patient Azura in her tank.
Azura looking chilled.

Azura still swims around pretty well in her tank, using her flipper well, but her lacklustre efforts on sea swims have been worrying us. Although via x-ray, her flipper looks stable, joint infections can have a fungal component, so Azura has been started on an anti-fungal treatment that will go on for 8 weeks. We will swim her in the meantime to try and get her diving properly again. We are also feeding her from floating buoys to encourage her to dive and she is doing well. We are happy with how she is progressing on her medications for her elbow.

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Turtle patient Heidi in his tank. Image.
Heidi in his tank, looking cool and relaxed.

Heidi is being his usual lovely self – nothing much to report for him. He has been a wonderful sport as we’ve moved him around all the tanks after all these new patients turned up. But do visit his page to check out a lot of new photos – he seems to be enjoying a bit of posing and it looks like he is trying to walk!