Head Start Programme
We have ten green turtles within the head start programme at Kuda Huraa, several of them now grown to 23cm in length. We plan to release some of them later in the year with satellite tracking devices, so we can follow their journey out in the ocean. As their release date grows near, we will start to change their feeding times and incorporate more vegetables and sea grass, to better mirror their diet in the wild.
Turtle ‘G61’ has been suffering from persistent ‘grey patch disease’, and we recently switched treatments from ‘Herpex’ cream to ‘Soframycin’, resulting in a rapid improvement in the animal’s condition (increased activity, better appetite, weight gain). We are continuing with the new treatment and monitoring the turtle closely.
On 23 June, Chiara and Jesse from Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu found a small (25cm) Olive Ridley turtle trapped in a fragment of a ghost net drifting nearby their seaplane platform. The turtle was pulled from the water and next day transferred to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa Giraavaru. ‘Jesse’ was found to be dehydrated and suffering from puncture wounds to the carapace (perhaps from bird attacks whilst entangled).
We started feeding Jesse a range of healthy foods to build up her strength again, and she made a very quick recovery back to health. We are happy to report that Jesse was successfully released back into the ocean in a quiet operation on a cloudy 4th July day.
Elsa, our long-term rescue Olive Ridley turtle is the only patient at the moment at Kuda Huraa. We are going to start monitoring her diving frequency by using a ‘Go Pro’ camera on automated mode, to record the pool in two-hour intervals. We are looking at re-housing her in a specialised overseas facility, possibly an aquarium in Singapore.
We currently have two rescue turtles under our care at Landaa:
Found on 22 August, in a ghost net close to Madhirivaadhoo.
Unfortunately her floatation syndrome seems to have worsened, meaning she finds it difficult to dive down for food, and cannot spend any time resting on the bottom of the pool.
We are still in contact with an aquarium supplier in the UK about the possibility of transferring Zahiya overseas where she could live out the rest of her life comfortably, with specialist support.
We have now rescued 45 Olive Ridley turtles at Landaa Giraavaru in 3 years. 26 of these turtles have spent some time at our centre and were released after rehabilitation. We have now collected data on a total of 111 Olive Ridley turtle rescues around the country since 2010. Already this year, there have been reports of 42 entangled Olive Ridleys in the Maldives, with 30 of these being immediately released back to the ocean by the people who found them.
The redevelopment of our turtle conservation facility has begun, with three additional pools being constructed at Kuda Huraa. This will provide us with more space, improved living conditions and more options regarding isolating individual turtles when required. Glass fronts to the new pools will allow guests to watch the animals dive underwater, and new roofing will provide good shading for the animals and protect the water from falling plant debris.