Turtle Patient Update Issue 7 | 2022



Finihaka – Arrived 25 May 2022, Released 11 July 2022


Finihaka, after a quick recovery, went on to become the brightest and most active patient at the Rescue Centre. She ate well, defecated regularly, and was running a maximum daily feed intake for her body weight.

Finihaka also become super friendly around visitors; she never failed to greet anyone at tank side – just like Heidi. In fact, she was so friendly (too friendly sometimes), that it became a concern, considering she would ultimately go back to the wild after her stay with us. We therefore moved her to a medium tank in a corner, in an attempt to limit human contact.

We performed one final round of diagnostics for Finihaka before releasing her from a boat into her ocean home, near where she was rescued. We would like to thank everyone who joined us on the boat so say bye!

Xena, Arrived 1st November 2022, Released 21 June 2022 From AMC

Turtle patient Xena in her tank. Image.

We had some incredible news from our friends at Atoll Marine Centre: Xena, our former patient, has finally been released! Xena first arrived at the Atoll Marine Centre (AMC) in October 2019, having been found in a ghost net, missing her front left flipper and with severe damage to her shell. After a year of rehab where she unfortunately never dived, she got very ill, prompting her arrival at our Rescue Centre on 1st November 2020.

Xena was only 13kg on her arrival and she refused all food. Diagnostics showed that she had significant changes to her lungs, as well as extensive bone infections. Medical therapy was initiated and our former vet Dr Minnie and her intern at the time, Jinaad, had the unenviable task of encouraging her to eat. Eventually Xena steadily gained weight, re-developed her cheeky personality and became a favourite at the Rescue Centre.

By January 2021 she was back to full health, but she was not showing any diving ability. All that changed in November 2021, when, completely out of the blue, she started diving on her own!! The team took her out swimming in the sea every few days to motivate her.

However, we knew that she needed more space to practice. In a lovely full circle moment, we sent her back to AMC so that she could practice diving in their sea cage. Spending time in the sea cage certainly sped up her recovery process. Finally, after nearly two months at the Atoll Marine Centre and three years in rehabilitation, the AMC team, satisfied by Xena’s progress and assured of her diving skills, released her from the sea cage on 21st of June.

New Arrivals

Uno, Arrived 28 June 2022

Clouseup of turtle patient Uno. Image.

Uno, a juvenile olive ridley, was found floating by a fisherman from Maalhos, Baa Atoll. Upon arrival at the Rescue Centre, Uno was dehydrated and weak and had a deep wound bed at his front right flipper, with an exposed ‘’upper arm” bone. His X-rays showed signs of bone infection that covered almost the entire width of the bone!

Fortunately, the affected flipper appeared to be working, although a little abnormally. We have started Uno’s wound care management and have put him on a course of antibiotics. His current X-rays indicate that surgical intervention may not be required at this point, though excessive care has to be maintained in handling him, since there is high risk of fracture at the affected flipper.

Our team conducted a repeat X-ray for Uno just last week, but it did not reveal any major changes. We’ll continue to monitor his right flipper carefully to guide his treatment plan.

The Resident Patients

Gus – Arrived 30 May 2022

Turtle patient Gus with flipper bandaged. Image.

Gus has shown great improvement over the last couple of weeks. Although he continued to defecate plastic for about 4-5 days after the surgery, he gradually gained energy and showed an improved appetite within a few days.

When Gus started to attempt to dive we placed him in the large tank and he appeared much livelier and curious. He was even seen diving for seagrass at the bottom of the tank.

A couple of weeks ago, the stitches at Gus’s surgical site came off, but the underlying muscle layers appeared fresh and healthy. We patched Gus up with bandages to reduce risk of wound contamination and to also allow topical creams to stay on the wounds and ensure maximal absorption. Thanks to the wound care management, Gus’s wounds have been healing well, with no sign of infection. Apart from that, Gus is swimming actively and maintaining a healthy appetite – finishing all of his seagrass, tuna and shrimp meals within seconds.

Basil – Arrived 15 May 2022

Turtle batient Basil in his tank. Image.

We have some exciting news – Basil can now swim as fast as Jazeera! Earlier last month, Basil started showing improvement in the use of his right front flipper, especially during feeding time. We were happy to see that there was no swelling at the affected flipper.

Basil did suffer from a skin infection last month, but after several changes in his treatment plan to ensure his comfort levels and pain-relief medication, the infection went away. His wounds now appears to be closing with no signs of infection or swelling.

Over the last week, Basil has been using both his front flippers well, with proper diving behavior. He also has a good appetite. We took him off of his pain relief medications and will observe him closely for signs of discomfort. We’re very happy with Basil’s recovery and hope to be able to release him soon!

Pepe – Arrived 13 May 2022

Turtle patient Pepe in her tank. Image.

Pepe’s appetite has been great, and she can now submerge her carapace to get to her food during training at feeding time. She has also been a lot more active and, earlier last month, she even attempted some dives.

With her wounds healing fine and her diving attempts getting better, we decided to move Pepe to a medium tank, giving her more space to dive. However, over the last few weeks Pepe hasn’t shown any improvement in her diving. We took her out for a sea swim, and although she did not dive successfully, she was swimming speedily and making significant efforts to dive.

To rule out abnormalities, we conducted X-Rays and bloodwork for Pepe, which showed an elevation in her white blood cells. In response, we have made adjustments to her treatment plan and continue to monitor her closely. Thankfully, Pepe’s wounds seem to be healing perfectly well, and we are confident that we will see her diving pretty soon!

Jazeera – Arrived 24 April 2022

Turtle patient Jazeera in her tank. Image.

Jazeera’s surgical wound appeared to be healing normally until the soft tissue under the incision site suddenly became swollen. We repeated his bloodwork to check for infection and switched his antibiotics course for another one. The swelling, started subsiding after a few weeks on this adjusted treatment plan. Meanwhile, Jazeera continued to eat, swim and dive well.

Last week, his most recent wound examination showed that the surgical site continues to close and heal smoothly. Fortunately, the swelling has reduced by more than 70%, and all through this, Jazeera has maintained perfect demeanor, proving that he is one tough turtle!

Crwban – Arrived 8 March 2022

Turtle patient Crwban in his tank. Image.

Last month we had to rotate Crwban between the small and large tanks due to scheduling of tank cleaning. We noticed that he appeared to be diving better in large tanks and we could even observe some improvement in buoyancy control. Therefore, we decided to move Crwban to the large tank, which he would share with Leonardo.

Ever since, his diving has gotten much better and Crwban truly seems to enjoy the space. We even spotted him diving to ‘steal’ the leftovers from Leonardo’s meal. However, when at rest, Crwban still floats upwards like a balloon – though at a controlled speed now!

We will be scheduling sea swims and dive-trainings to help Crwban with his buoyancy control and get him up to speed!

Leonardo – Arrived 14 February 2022

Turtle patient Leonardo popping his head out of the water. Image.

Leo continued to show good diving attempts all of last month, especially during feeding time. However, we noticed that he wasn’t using his front right flipper as much while diving, instead relying heavily on his rear flippers. Whenever he did use his front right flipper to swim, the range of motion was great.

Last week, Leo was spotted sitting comfortably at the bottom of the tank with Crwban. While his antibiotics and antifungals run their course, our team has been training him to use his right front flipper during feeding times, to which he is responding very well.

Kalo – Arrived 20 January 2022

Turtle patient Kalo in the rescue centre tank. Image.

Kalo is doing fantastic at the Rehabilitation Centre. He is always eager to eat fish and lobster-heads and is willing to push himself to dive to reach food that is lower down. Thanks to this, Kalo has put on 1.5kg of weight, which we are very happy about.

Kalo has also shown considerable improvement in his swimming, specially observed during his training against a strong current where his shell was completely under the water most of the time, which is great news!

Although Kalo is still very buoyant, he is making progress each week. He also loves rubbing himself on the brushes in the tank to keep ‘himshellf’ nice and clean, as well as hiding under the life ring that we put in the tank for him.

Heidi – Arrived 21st April 2018

Turtle patient Heidi in his tank. Image.

Marcus, the curator at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, is currently working on the arrangement of transport options for Heidi. Excitingly, the most recent update from the Aquarium suggests that Heidi will most likely be transferred to the UK in October this year! Meanwhile our team at the Rescue Centre continues to enjoy their time with the bright Heidi as he goes about his usual antics!


Tibby – Arrived 26 July 2021, Deceased 20 June 2022

Turtle patient Tibby in her tank. Image.

Tibby came to us in July 2021 having been entangled in ghost gear. Sadly, she had already lost her front right and half of her back right flipper as a result of the entanglement. She had also been attacked by a shark, resulting in extensive damage to her carapace and plastron and she was also very underweight. After a period of intensive care, we were so pleased to see her recover and gain weight.

Once she was fully healed, we sent her to our Rehabilitation Centre at One&Only Reethi Rah for intensive rehabilitation, although our hopes for her being released were slim given her missing flippers. We still tried our absolute best to build her strength up. In May, however, Tibby, started struggling and came back to the Rescue Centre for a checkup with Dr June.

Unfortunately, Tibby started deteriorating rapidly shortly after returning to the Rescue Centre. She then stopped eating completely which meant we needed to provide her with nutritional support if she was going to survive. Therefore, we took her to the operation theatre to insert a feeding tube. The anesthesia was smooth until the very end when her heart rate started fluctuating. During the procedure, we discovered that she had severe liver damage suggesting poor prognosis for recovery. We eventually decided not to recover her.

Her necropsy findings strongly supported our very difficult decision; both liver lobes were friable and enlarged with massive pus discharge. There were also multiple constricted segments along her gastric cavity, cranial intestines, and colon. She had lost both flippers on the same side and was therefore not releasable.

We are always devastated to lose a patient, but we are thankful that Tibby is no longer suffering. We thank everyone who supported Tibby in her journey and we continue to work our hardest for every patient in our care.