ORP Turtle Patient Update Issue 5|2019


Current patients: Heidi, Eve, Lynn, Artemis, Nemo, Moodhu Vina, Taloola, Azura, Florence, Joy and Chrissi

A young olive ridley entangled in tarpaulin washed up near our island in March.

We continue to be very busy at the Rescue Center with lots of new arrivals, several releases, and, sadly, some deceases. In addition, we rescued a young olive ridley turtle who washed up close to our island entangled in heavy tarpaulin on 25th March. We swam out to retrieve the turtle and brought her back to the island. After cutting her free we assessed her for injuries. Luckily she did not require any medical care and could be released immediately. It all happened so fast we forgot to giver her a name!

New Arrivals

Moofushi – Arrived 21st March 2019, Released 12th April 2019

Olive ridley ghost net victim Moofushi at the ORP turtle rescue centre Maldives

Moofushi is a juvenile olive ridley turtle and ghost net victim who was sent to us by sea plane from Constance Moofushi Resort in Ari Atoll.

When Moofushi arrived, her front right flipper was just barely still attached. The humeral bone was completely cut. We had no option but to amputate her flipper. She recovered well from surgery and after a few weeks rehabilitating in our tanks, she was released.

Cloud – Arrived 21st March 2019, Released 24th March 2019

Rare green leuristic turtle Maldives

Cloud, a rare white turtle, belongs to the green sea turtle species. She was rescued from the ocean in Male atoll, where she was found floating in the ocean and unable to dive down. Cloud’s rescuers tried to release her on two occasions, but she kept floating at the surface. They called the Rescue Centre for advice and we recommended that she came to the centre for a health check. Cloud took a seaplane from Male to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in Baa Atoll. The first night at the Rescue Centre she stayed mostly at the surface. However, the next day we found Cloud happily resting on the bottom of her tank.

Cloud had a deformed carapace; the top of her shell had a noticeable lump. The deformed shell affects the anatomy of her lungs as the lungs attach to the top of the shell in sea turtles. On X-ray we also found that she has a condition called Scoliosisher where the spine is abnormally curved.

Leucistic turtles often have multiple malformations. They have genetic defects and can also develop malformations during embryonic development. Despite all of this, Cloud was swimming and diving well and did not seem affected by her birth problems

You can read more about Cloud here.

Coral – Arrived 23rd March 2019, Deceased 27th March 2019

Olive ridley turtle recovering from surgery after ghost net entanglement ORP Rescue Centre Maldives

Coral was a juvenile olive ridley turtle. She arrived at the Rescue Centre by sea plane from Four Seasons Kuda Huraa in North Male Atoll with severe flipper injuries from ghost net entanglement.

Coral’s front left flipper was rotting at the bottom when she arrived at the Rescue Centre. We performed surgery to amputate her flipper, however, her muscle and skin were very infected and we were unable to remove all of infected tissue. She recovered well from the surgery, but she was extremely lethargic and died over night a few days later.

On post mortem we found that she suffered from both an enlarged liver and an enlarged heart.

Phantom – Arrived 25th March 2019, Deceased 27th March 2019

Ghost gear victim olive ridley turtle Phantom in the ORP Rescue Centre tank, Maldives

Phantom was an adult female olive ridley ghost net victim who was rescued by Lux Resort in Ari Atoll. She arrived in a very bad way.

Phantom was dehydrated and had deep wounds to three flippers from ghost net entanglement. Infection exposed almost her whole skull with little skin remaining on her head. She also had a large area of bone exposed on her shell from infection. On top of all this she weighed 10 kgs less than a turtle her size should.

We started her on aggressive antibiotic treatment, pain relief and fluid therapy. Unfortunately, the help was too late and she passed away. During post mortem we found that her reproductive tract was enlarged and she had an infected liver.

Taloola – Arrived 27th March 2019

Olive ridley ghost net victim recovering at ORP turtle rescue centre Maldives

Taloola is another juvenile female olive ridley turtle who was rescued from ghost net entanglement. She arrived by sea plane from Gilli Lankafushi in North Male Atoll.

Taloola needed a flipper amputation, but she is doing well post surgery and is both eating and diving.

Azura – Arrived 2nd April 2019

Olive ridley ghost net victim recovering after flipper amputation, ORP Turtle Rescue Centre, Maldives

Azura is an adult female olive ridley turtle. She arrived with a severely infected front flipper after being entangled in a ghost net.

She was rescued near Dharavandhoo island in Baa Atoll and we collected her by speedboat. She needed an amputation and, so far, is responding well to treatment, but has not started eating yet.

Joy – Arrived 9th April 2019

Ghost net victim recovering at ORP Rescue Centre, Maldives

Joy arrived to us from Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in Baa Atoll. She is an adult female olive ridley and ghost gear victim.

Joy needed a flipper amputation upon arrival.

Florence – Arrived 10th April 2019

Olive ridley turtle suffering from buoyancy syndrome, ORP Rescue Centre, Maldives

Florence is a juvenile olive ridley found at our neighbour resort of Vaakaru. She is suffering from severe buoyancy syndrome. We have x-rayed her, are running lab tests and have tried to remove the trapped air causing her buoyancy. We are also treating her with fluids as she is very weak.

Chrissi – Arrived 10th April 2019

Olive ridley turtle patient Chrissi in the tank at the ORP Rescue Centre Maldives

Chrissi also came to us from Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. She has a very swollen flipper from being entangled in a ghost net. We performed x-ray and ultrasound exams and are trying our best to save her flipper and avoid an amputation. She is currently not using her flipper, but we hope that with time and treatment she will recover.


Boston – Arrived 21st February, Released 19th March 2019

Olive ridley turtle Boston, ghost net victim Maldives

Boston recovered well from surgery to 3 flippers: They all completely healed and he had full function. As soon as he has had his stitches out, he was released.

Happy Feet – Arrived 23rd February, Released 19th March 2019

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

Happy Feet completely healed from his surgery and was released as soon as he had his stitches out.

Lakmon – Arrived 26th February, Released 24th March 2019

Olive ridley turtle Lakmon a ghost net victim Maldives

Lakmon recovered quickly from the surgery to amputate his flipper and was released as soon as the stitches were removed.

Giuliana – Arrived 4th March 2019, Released 24th March 2019

Ghost net amputee olive ridley turtle Maldives

Giuliana, a strong a resilient turtle with no signs of buoyancy syndrome, recovered quickly from surgery. She was released as soon as her stitches were out.


Jamie – Arrived 1st March 2019, Deceased 26th March 2019

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

Jamie was not eating with us and at post mortem we found that she had an extremely enlarged and infected liver, which is her likely cause of death. Despite being on antibiotics her disease was too severe to overcome.

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, but she is still not using her front flipper.

Eve – Arrived 26th December 2018

Turtle patient Eve recovering in her tank, ORP Rescue Centre Maldives

We have been monitoring Eve closely after discovering a bone infection in her shoulder joint. We are very pleased with her progress after a month of treatment. Her shoulder joint is looking much better and bone is regenerating.

She has started moving her flipper for the first time and we are helping her along by treating her with physiotherapy. She remains on antibiotics for the time being.

Lynn – Arrived 27th February 2019

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

Lynn had 2 further procedures to remove air from her body. After the second procedure she started diving!

We repeated the procedure a third time to try and cure her buoyancy but this time she re-inflated and is now buoyant again. There is a chance that creating negative pressure in her again caused air to leak out of an active lung tear.

We also ultrasound scanned Lynn as she has been very lethargic and not eating since arriving. To our surprise, we discovered a lot of egg follicles (early stages of egg development) in her ovaries! They ranged in size from a few millimeters to 1.5 cm. Follicles develop in mature females during reproductive cycles, around 8-12 months before prior to breeding. Turtles can stop eating during periods of reproductive activity for several months, so this might be why Lynn is not eating. We will keep a close eye on her and continue to scan her to check on her progress.

Artemis – Arrived 27th February 2019

Baby olive ridley turtle patient Artemis ORP Marine turtle rescue centre Maldives

Artemis had a second surgery to remove an infected fragment of bone left after a ghost net broke one of his flipper bones in half. He is currently recovering from surgery.

Nemo – Arrived 4th March 2019

Nemo olive ridley turtle ghost net victim Maldives

Nemo is doing well. He has had 2 surgeries but has a really bad elbow infection.  We are treating this and he recently used his front flipper for first time.

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 has developed an elbow infection, so she has to stay with us a while longer. We were hoping for a quick release, but with this condition she will be with us many more months unfortunately.