ORP Turtle Patient Update Issue 4|2019

Last Updated: April 10, 2019

Current patients: Heidi, Eve, Boston, Happy Feet, Lakmon, Lynn, Artemis, Jamie, Giuliana, Nemo, & Moodhu Vina

The last two and half weeks have been incredibly busy at the Turtle Rescue Centre and we have lots to update you on!

Penny Has Been Released!

Watch Penny’s release

Finally, after nearly two years at the Rescue Centre, (and on International Women’s Day no less!), we discovered Penny very low in the water. She easily dived down after food, so we decided to take her for a swim in the sea to test her buoyancy.

As soon as she was in the ocean, she easily dived down and swam along the bottom, even resting on the reef at points. In classic Penny style she wasn’t all that interested in swimming off quickly; she was more interested in finding snacks on the reef!

Despite having just had her dinner, she spent a long time exploring the reef and munching on the odd sponge. We even encountered a friendly hawksbill whilst we swam with her.

We swam a long time with her to ensure she was ready for release and watched as she explored the reef before diving off the drop off.

We can hardly believe that she was finally released after being with us such a long time. We are amazed and so happy for her. We wish you all the best back home Penny!

New Arrivals

Nemo – Arrived 4th March 2019

Nemo olive ridley turtle ghost net victim Maldives

Nemo, a very young olive ridley turtle, was found with Dory at Eydhafushi, entangled in a ghost net. Both of Nemo’s front flippers were badly damaged by the ghost net. We had to amputate the front right flipper immediately as it was deeply cut and infected. The left flipper is also infected, with two open joints, but luckily there are no broken bones. We are desperately trying to save this flipper, but he is not using it at the moment.

Nemo also has a shell infection which we are treating him for.

Dory – Arrived 4th March 2019, Deceased 13th March 2019

Ghost net victim olive ridley turtle Dory

Dory was another very young olive ridley turtle, and a ghost net victim. She was found with Nemo at Eydhafushi.

Dory had a large area of damage to her shoulder region that had to be surgically repaired. She was also suffering from a shell infection.

Unfortunately, Dory passed a few days after arriving at the Rescue Centre. She was incredibly thin and emaciated from the ghost net entanglement. Despite her recovery from surgery, starting treatment, and us managing to get her to eat a bit of food, she passed away.

Guiliana – Arrived 4th March 2019

Ghost net amputee olive ridley turtle Maldives

Giuliana was rescued by Kuredu Resort and sent to us via Atoll Marine Centre. She is a young olive ridley, and another victim of ghost net entanglement. We had to amputate her front flipper when she arrived, however, she is already diving well and can be released as soon as her stitches are out.

Moodhu Vina – Arrived 13th March 2019

Ghost gear victim olive ridley turtle Moodhu Vina at the ORP Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives
Moodhu Vina

Moodhu Vina is a juvenile olive ridley ghost net victim. She was rescued along with another entangled turtle by a local boat crew in Laamu Atoll. The boat crew knew exactly what to do and brought the injured turtles to our Sea Turtle Biologist at Six Senses Laamu!

Following overnight care at Six Senses Laamu, both Moodhu Vina and the other rescued turtle, Big Mummy, was transported to our Turtle Rescue Centre for medical care.

Moodhu Vina has all four flippers intact. Howver, she is suffering from quite a widespread skin and shell infection, with one moderate cut to her front flipper. The net cut through the skin but the muscles are ok underneath.

Due to the extensive amount of skin infection, we are treating her with topical creams and antibiotics. She has not had surgery due to the likelihood of this just breaking down due to the condition of the skin. Otherwise she is fairly bright and hopefully will respond well to treatment.

She/he was named “Moodhu vina” – Dhivehi for Seagrass – as she/he was found during the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign.

Big Mummy – Arrived 13th March & Released 15th March 2019

Big Mummy

Big Mummy arrived on 13th March 2019. She was found entangled along with a juvenile olive ridley (Moodhu Vina) in Laamu Atoll by a local boat crew. Luckily the boat crew knew what to do – they brought both turtles to our Sea Turtle Biologist at Six Senses Laamu. The next day both ghost net victims were transferred to the Rescue Centre.

Big Mummy arrived with an abnormal flipper, however an x-ray revealed that she manged to escape the ghost net mostly unscathed. Her flipper worked well with just a minor finger joint dislocation – which could be an old injury and did not affect her swimming. She happily returned to the ocean after two days at the Rescue Centre.


We have had to move several non-critical patients to other rehabilitation centres in the past few weeks. We have had many new arrivals requiring surgery and needed the space for them. They will all be well looked after in their new homes.

Juanita – Arrived 9th September 2018, Moved 4th March 2019

Turtle patient Juanita at the Olive Ridley Project Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

Juanita is still suffering from buoyancy. She has been moved to Atoll Marine Centre for further rehabilitation as we needed the tank space for critical patients.

Nessy – Arrived 19th January 2019, Moved 4th March 2019

Turtle patient Nessy at the Olive Ridley Project Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

As Nessy does not need critical care, she has been moved to Atoll Marine Centre to make room for turtles who require surgery.

Tiff – Arrived 27th February 2019, Moved 4th March 2019

Olive ridley turtle patient Tiff at the Olive Ridley Project Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

Tiff was sent to live at Marine Savers. She spent a short time with us. We X-rayed her and found she has lung tears and a lot of air inside her shell. This is not something we can fix at this time, so she has gone to be looked after by another centre as we needed the space for critical care turtles.

The Resident Patients

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Ghost net victim olive ridley turtle Heidi at Olive Ridley Project Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

Heidi remains healthy and eats well. She is still not using her front flipper.

Eve – Arrived 26th December 2018

Turtle patient Eve in her tank at Olive Ridley Project Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

We have been X-raying Eve’s flipper every few weeks to monitor her and the x-rays have revealed a new problem: She has an area of bone loss in her shoulder joint, a condition that suggests she has a bone infection in her joint.

This is a difficult condition to treat, that typically presents 4-6 weeks after turtles enter rehabilitation. Infection from initial wounds eventually seeds to the elbow usually, but sometimes to shoulder joints.

Despite Eve being on a long course of antibiotics when she first arrived, and her damaged flipper healing quite nicely, she now has this new condition. She is back on a different type of antibiotic and we hope we can treat this condition. It explains why she is not using her flipper although it has taken a while to show up on the x-ray.

Boston – Arrived 21st February 2019

Olive ridley turtle Boston, ghost net victim Maldives

Boston is doing very well. His 3 flippers that were operated on have completely healed and he has full function. He has had his stitches out and is ready for release in the next couple of days!

Happy Feet – Arrived 23rd February 2019

Olive ridley ghost net victim Happy Feet at the Olive Ridley Project Turtel Rescue Centre Maldives
Happy Feet

Happy Feet has completely healed from his surgery and is fully recovered with stitches out. Happy Feet will be released in the next couple of days.

Lakmon – Arrived 26th February 2019

Olive ridley turtle Lakmon a ghost net victim Maldives

Lakmon is also doing well and his skin is mostly recovered from infection. He is healing well from surgery and he is diving and eating. Lakmon is a strong turtle and hopefully he can have his stitches out soon and be released.

Lynn – Arrived 27th February 2019

Olive ridley turtle patient Lynn at ORP Marine Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

Lynn’s x-ray showed a lot of internal abnormalities. She has a huge amount of gas build up including in her neck. She has what appears to be large abnormal distended pockets in her lung called bullae. She is not eating and is looking very sick.

Lynn had a procedure this week to remove the air from her shell cavity. This is normally unsuccessful, with the air just returning straight away. She is one of our first patients that we saw a dramatic improvement after this procedure. We removed over 12L of air from her shell and her buoyancy has improved by over 50%. We also repeated her X-rays. We are going to repeat this procedure to see if we can see a bigger improvement.

Artemis – Arrived 27th February 2019

Baby olive ridley turtle Artemis in the tank at the Rescue Centre
Artemis in the tank at the Rescue Centre

Artemis is doing well and has started diving! He had a small surgery to debride away some of the infection from his front flipper and stitch it into a more correct alignment. Unfortunately, as he arrived to us with an old wound, we are unable to do much about his broken bone.

We are hoping that he forms enough scar tissue for it to be stable enough for him to swim with this flipper, but we will have to wait and see.

Jamie – Arrived 1st March 2019

Olive ridley turtle ghost net victm Jamie ORP Marine Turtle Rescue Centre Maldives

Jamie is remains buoyant and is not eating properly. We have been crab hunting a lot to try to tempt her, but she has not even wanted to eat crab the last few days. We even tried shrimp too,but she refused all of our offerings.