Turtle Patient Update Issue 5 | 2021

Last Updated: July 7, 2021


Sunan – Arrived 12 March 2021, Released 6 July 2021

Turtle patient Sunan during a regular medical check-up. Image.
Sunan during a regular medical check-up.

Sunan was released on the 6th July after spending 4 months at the Rescue Centre recovering from ghost gear entanglement, skin infection and a bone infection. He was a perfect patient; mild mannered with a great appetite! He swam away easily and quickly into the deep and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Thank you to everyone who supported Sunan during his stay with us.

Thari – Arrived 4 March 2021, Released 1 July 2021

Turtle patient Thari, flipper amputee. Image.

Thari was released on 1st July from the beach here at Coco Palm. She had the challenge of navigating the reef out to the deep, but Dr Minnie was on hand to monitor her the whole way and she did incredibly well! She didn’t struggle to dive even once, which had been an intermittent feature in the tank, and she swam off down into the deep the moment she could. We are so pleased to see her doing so well.

Thanks to everyone who supported Thari during her 4 month stay with us at the Rescue Centre. She was a hugely charismatic patient and a true testament to a sea turtle’s resilience. She not only had her flipper amputated by a ghost net, but she also had severe damage to her carapace, possibly as a result of a boat strike. This left her with significant lung damage and we considered the possibility that she would never dive again.

Abba – Arrived 5 April 2021, Released 18 May 2021

Adult male olive ridley turtle baient Abba in his tank. Image.

Abba was also released from the beach so not to stress him out with a boat ride. After first seeming a little confused he made his way into the water and swam off happily. His wounds had healed nicely, he was a great swimmer and was eating really well, so we were happy to send him back home. Thank you to everyone who adopted him and supported him during his time at the Rescue Centre.


Buil – Arrived 19 May 2021, Deceased 18 June 2021

Turtle patient Buil, a double flipper amputee, in the tank at the Rescue Centre. Image.

Buil was found flouting near Malé airport in North Malé Atoll. He spent 4 months at our Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at One & Only Reethi Rah before being transferred to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre when his health took a turn for the worse.

Sadly Buil was a double amputee; both front flippers were amputated by ghost gear and he was discovered floating out in the open ocean. This is a truly tragic situation and is a very sad reminder of the harm caused by ghost gear. He was also unable to dive and his health slowly deteriorated.

A month after arriving at the Rescue Centre, Buil passed away. He had both pneumonia and bone infections, didn’t eat much and, despite intervention, he wasn’t strong enough to pull through. Buil was a very tough case; as a double amputee, he wasn’t releasable and he found life very challenging, being unable to maneuver himself around or dive. We are thankful at least that he is no longer suffering

New Arrivals

Bruce, Arrived 4 July 2021

Turtle patient Bruce in the tank. Image.

Bruce is a sub-adult olive ridley turtle that was found entangled in a ghost net that had completely cut through his front left flipper. He was found in Gaafu Alifu Atoll, one of the southernmost atolls of the Maldives. This makes him the patient who has travelled the furthest out of any of our 153 patients so far – over 500km! Thankfully he is feisty and eating well, and we think we may be able to avoid surgery on his amputated stump.

Jum, Arrived 2 July 2021

Turtle patient Jum in his tank. Image.

Jum is a sub-adult Olive Ridley that was found severely entangled by her neck. This has left a deep ligature wound that will need surgical intervention in order to prevent the scar tissue contracting down and effectively throttling her. She is incredibly weak and emaciated, arriving at only 12.25 kg when she should be at least 16-18 kg. She has a long way to go before she can be considered for release, but thankfully she has all 4 flippers and a strong will!

Owen, Arrived 18 June 2021

Sea turtle patien Owen, hawksbill, in his tank at the ORP Rescue Centre. Image.

Owen was found floating near Mabinhura – a new resort in development in Lhaviyani Atoll. He was initially sent to our friends at Atoll Marine Centre, but it soon became apparent he needed veterinary attention and he was transferred to us. He is a sub-adult hawksbill with a beautiful shell.

On arrival, Owen had both blood samples and x-rays taken. The x-rays revealed that he had a small fish hook embedded in his right jaw. This was removed under sedation and he is recovering well. There is likely more going on than just the hook though, as he is also very weak and lethargic; we suspect he has eaten something toxic. However, he is eating by himself so we will be able to administer supportive drugs and give him the time he needs to improve.

Owen had a really good first week at the Rescue Centre. He is eating consistently twice a day about 30g of fish cut into little pieces that Dr Minnie has to individually hand feed him, but he’s definitely keen for it. He is a little more active and he is also passing more formed normal faeces, which is good, as it means everything is being processed normally and is passing through well. 

Jannicke, Arrived 31 May 2021

Turtle patient Jannicke. Image.

Jannicke was found entangled in a ghost net, along with an adult male olive ridley turtle called Kokko, near Thulhadoo in Baa Atoll by the Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu boat crew. She is a large adult female olive ridley. Thankfully Kokko, weighing in at 42 kg, wasn’t very entangled or injured, so we were able to release him the following day. Jannicke, however, was not so lucky; she has severe ghost net entanglement wounds to her right front and back flipper. The right front looks unsalvageable at this stage, but we will hopefully be able to save the back right flipper. She needs at least some of her back right flipper to maneuver around.

Jannicke had surgery to remove damaged tissue, which went well but was difficult. She lost quite a lot of blood due to the severely altered anatomy of the area. We were also able to diagnose pneumonia via x-rays and samples of mucus from her windpipe. She took a while to recover due to needing high doses of anaesthetic, but as the week went on, she slowly and steadily got more alert and active. She was buoyant, but we expected that to improve with time as she got over her lung infection. 

Though she is lovely, Jannicke is a challenging patient! She had a a big food aversion in the beginning and hated us putting anything near her face, so it was a big challenge to get her to eat. We have taken her out of her tank every day since she arrived for fluids and for bandage changes, but Dr Minnie decided to give her a few days break to see if the stress reduction would encourage her to eat — and it sort of worked! She at least opened her mouth to try which was great! She is now finally eating more consistently and has started diving (as we expected) and being able to rest on the bottom! Her back right flipper wound is still significant but it seems to be healing well.

The Resident Patients

Amber – Arrived 2 March 2021

Flipper amputee, Amber. Image.

Amber suddenly decided it was time to start diving a couple of weeks ago and she’s been keeping up the excellent work ever since. She managed to reach the bottom of the tank soon after and now consistently spends more time diving than resting on the surface! She can even rest on the bottom without propping herself under the dividing barrier, so we are very happy with her progress. Amber has also started to use her back flipper more–which is great news.

Xena – Arrived 1 November 2020

Turtle patient Xena on a sea swim. Image.
Xena on her first sea swim since arriving at the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Xena had her first sea swim after relocating to the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in May. She started of slow, but quickly found her rhythm in the water, gently swimming with the currents. She is now a steady 18 kg but, unfortunately, she is refusing food every few days. She also looks like she has got an infection in her working front flipper, so, under the instructions of our veterinarian team, we started a course of antibiotics to treat this. Thankfully, Xena seems to be responding well to the antibiotics, eating more food and beginning to use her front flipper a bit more, but only time will tell if she will fully recover.

Discovery – Arrived 7th February 2020

Turtle transport - Disco in a wheelbarrow. Image.

Disco is doing really well but, sad to say, she seems even more buoyant than usual recently. She has a permanently open lung tear so it is possible it could worsen after being fairly stable. She remains bright and active and eating well, not even as messily – which is always nice for the Rescue Centre staff! She has a number of fans at the Rescue Centre who come to visit her every day; she really is a wonderful and charismatic turtle, and everyone who meets her is so impressed at her dedication to trying to dive. She has truly never given up!

Azura – Arrived 2nd April 2019

Azura in her tank. Image.

Azura came off her medication, but unfortunately we then noticed that she stopped using her flipper as well as before. So she is back on and evidently needs a longer course. This is a little frustrating but we will persist with her! Thankfully she is bright and active and happy.

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Heidi on spa day. Image.

Heidi is a superstar and doing very well. Unfortunately, our first aquarium lead fell through, but we have found another lead that we are pursuing and we haven’t given up hope!