Turtle Patient Update Issue 6 | 2021

Last Updated: August 12, 2021

New Arrivals

Jude, Arrived 30 July 2021

Turtle patient Jude in her tank. Image.

Jude was found near Malé by one of the speedboat crews from our partner resort One & Only Reethi Rah, floating on the surface and missing her front right flipper. She was assessed by the veterinary team via a video call and was deemed healthy. Her wound has healed well and she is very strong, weighing 31kgs.

Jude has settled in very well at the Rehabilitation Centre – she has been very active and is diving for food. Dr Minnie has given the go ahead for her to be released this week! Keep an eye on our social media for updates.

Tibby, Arrived 26 July 2021

Turtle patient Tibby in recovery after surgery. Image.

Tibby is a sub-adult Olive Ridley turtle that was found washed up on a beach at Mabinhura resort. She was flown directly to Coco Palm by TMA as she was in a bad way. She is missing her front right flipper and part of her back right flipper as a result of ghost gear entanglement. Unfortunately, she seems to have been attacked repeatedly by a shark, resulting in deep wounds to her carapace, plastron and her back flippers which had been shredded and left with bone exposure.

Tibby had surgery to sort out some of her major wounds and we are pleased to say that she recovered very well. She has a strong will and, although she can’t dive yet, we are hopeful she will work it out with time.


Jum – Arrived 2 July 2021, Deceased 12 July 2021

Turtle patient Jum in his tank. Image.

Jum unfortunately passed away after she was sedated for the insertion of a feeding tube. She had been getting progressively worse over the course of the preceding week despite intervention, and it got to a turning point where we had to try and get nutrition into her, otherwise she was not going to pull through.

It is always devastating to lose a patient, but Jum was already far gone when she was found and sadly there were just too many issues that had developed. On post-mortem we found that she had an abnormal heart, pancreas and large intestine and was so emaciated that the bones of her plastron had dislocated from her carapace. We are at least glad that she passed away peacefully.

The Resident Patients

Bruce, Arrived 4 July 2021

Turtle pateint Bruce with his mouth open. Image.

Bruce adapted to life here at the Rescue Centre within hours – he started eating immediately and now furiously chases around the food like he’s been doing this for years! He is bright and active, despite his buoyancy issues.

Bruce had a minor surgical procedure to repair the tip of his flipper as, unfortunately, over the course of his rehab so far, he has damaged it on the tanks. We also removed a few localised abscesses on his remaining right flipper, which had been caused by the entanglement. His stump on the left had a lot of flesh that needed debriding (removing dead tissue) but we were confident that we could avoid surgery. Thanks to his daily wound care and antibiotics, the stump is now looking good – the x-ray shows that the bone looks fine and is now covered over by healing tissue.

He has been moved to half the big tank to encourage him to try diving even more. He has been trying to dive deeper and more consistently since, so we are very pleased with his progress!

Owen, Arrived 18 June 2021

Turtle patien Owen resting at the bottom of the tank. Image.

Owen started off the month doing great – he was eating well and was active. We put him in the medium tank, which he was loving. He was moving around a lot more and investigating everything we have put in his tank to interest him, like bits of rock and dead coral. He has also started to eat his full amount of food from the tank floor and even actively pursued it!

Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks he seems to be having a bit of a tough time. It seems as if a parasite may have been responsible for his initial debilitation and is likely worsening over time; we are working out how to source the medication we need to clear it from his system. He is still acting like himself and has passed some normal faeces but sadly he isn’t wanting any kind of fish.

He is very interested in crabs though, so we have been giving him those nightly while we await the right medication to cure him of his issue.

Jannicke, Arrived 31 May 2021

Turtle patient smiling Jannicke in her tank. Image.

Jannicke is getting the hang of this eating and diving thing now! She started off the month still closing her eyes in slight panic when she was fed but was at least eating consistently. She now eats a variety of fish with no problem at all and cruises around on the bottom of the tank with ease.

She had x-rays at the start of the month, which unfortunately revealed the beginnings of a bone infection on her left elbow, but without an associated reduction in movement. This is frustrating but manageable. Jannicke has been put on an antifungal course of around 6 to 8 weeks. She has since had a repeat x-ray to assess how her elbow is coming along and unfortunately it does seem to have deteriorated slightly. She will continue her meds and begin on a new course to try and get on top of things, but certainly the rate of deterioration has slowed down which is at least encouraging. Once she has finished these courses, we hope that she will be off back into the deep blue. Otherwise, she has been doing well: she dives, eats and swims like a champ!

Amber – Arrived 2 March 2021

Turtle patient Amber folding her flipper. Image.

Amber had surgery to remove a walled off abscess that was slowly getting bigger near her front left flipper stump. This likely developed when the ghost gear constricted it and some damaged tissue was left behind. She woke up well from surgery but, unfortunately, she is significantly buoyant, whereas before she was able to dive well.

Amber’s surgical wound unfortunately broke down and has left a bit of a large hole to contend with. Luckily, she is eating and swimming well and it doesn’t seem to be setting her back. We will manage it as an open wound and it should eventually close over.

Xena – Arrived 1 November 2020

Turtle patient Xena practicing diving with a weight belt. Image.

Xena was doing well at the start of the month – attempting to dive more and more each week. She had been eating well and slowly increasing weight in her weight therapy training (this is where we attach a weight belt to her to aid with buoyancy issues).

We were hoping that she’d be ready to start her sea swims again soon, but unfortunately she isn’t making the progress we hoped. She has been very slow and lethargic recently, only eating a few times a week. She will be starting a new antifungal medication soon, which we hope will help.

Discovery – Arrived 7th February 2020

Close-up of turtle patient Disco. Image.

Disco is doing great – full of energy and eating very well. She continues to gain weight, so we are very happy with her. She also continues to have an incredible level of motivation to dive despite the difficulty she has doing it! We will try and take her out on a sea swim next week to stretch her flippers.

Azura – Arrived 2nd April 2019

close-up of turtle patient Azura. Image.

Azura is back on an intense training regime of diving for her meals. We put the food on buoys that we sink down in the water, and this makes her dive for them. It’s a great workout for her muscles as she isn’t very fit these days! It also makes her flex her brain too which is never a bad thing. She is doing really well reaching the food so next week we will drop the buoy lower to increase the difficulty!

She has also been getting on well with her sea swims. She gets started a lot quicker and tries to dive from the get-go. We are really pleased with how she is getting on. Fingers crossed we can keep this progress going and eventually get her back out into the wild!

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Turtle patient Heidi on a swa swim. Image.

Heidi is doing wonderfully as always. We are attempting to pursue another lead with a Dubai aquarium but overall, it is proving quite challenging to secure him a place.  

Otherwise, Heidi has been eating well – we have taken to chopping up his fish into tiny cubes and scattering them all around the tank which means he has to really forage for them. He also enjoyed his first foray out into the sea this month to stretch his flippers. He mooched around trying to eat as many things as he could find on the reef and in the sand. He always loves it right up until he has to get taken back to shore!

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