OssyRescue Turtle

Ossy (RB.LO.037) juvenile Olive Ridley turtle, admitted 22-Aug-13

Ossy was found on 22 August 2013, in a ghost net close to the island of Madhirivaadhoo (Baa Atoll) – a 55cm juvenile Olive Ridley turtle, missing the front left flipper due to entanglement in a huge ghost net. The wound was cleaned and treated; initially Ossy was not feeding so needed to be force-fed.

Ossy regained an appetite and increased in strength; the amputated flipper healed well and efforts are being made at diving. Unfortunately the floatation syndrome seems to have worsened, making it difficult to dive down for food.

Ossy continues to suffer from a severe flotation problem but is otherwise in good health – eating well, no signs of injury or infection and exhibiting normal behaviour in our rehabilitation pool. We are unsure of the chances of survival in the wild, so we are currently pursuing the ideal solution – rehousing to an (overseas) aquarium or marine centre.

As part of our research into turtle buoyancy syndrome, we are trialling a new technique with scientific data software package “Image J”. This enables us to record the above-water surface area of a turtle’s carapace, to provide a consistent measure of buoyancy status. We can then quantitatively assess the effectiveness of our air tapping treatments and monitor results over time.
This method is being used for Ossy, to specifically assess the effects of our air tapping treatment, where we aspirate gas from their coelomic cavity.

We are increasing daily activity by encouraging swimming and diving during feedings, and Ossy continues to be very energetic and has a good appetite. We plan to start using a weight belt across the carapace to determine the amount of weight needed to make Ossy neutrally buoyant. Although this is not a permanent solution, it will help determine the chances for release. (Keep scrolling down for more updates).

Name Ossy
Sex Juvenile
Species Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
Date of Admittance 22 August 2013
Location Maadhirivadhoo, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Issues Front left flipper amputation; positive buoyancy (floating)
Diet Fish, squid and lobster
Treatment Multivitamin and calcium supplements
Length 52.5cm SCL
Weight 20.0kg (arrival); 24.2kg (Nov-15); 29.8kg (Nov-16);
On 6 November 2015, Ossy was taken to the Dive Site to allow her to swim in the wild. As she is very active and aware of her environment, we wanted her to experience the ocean again to increase motivation towards a release. We tried to dive with her in order to see if the gas trapped in her body would decrease with the increase in water pressure. Unfortunately this did not work, and she was brought back to the rescue pool.

June 2016 – Like most of our rescue turtles, Ossy has been suffering from ‘floating syndrome’, unable to dive below the water surface. However, during June we have seen some amazing progress! We have started to see Ossy resting at the bottom of the pool on a few different occasions, so we are continuing to monitor her activity, and during feeding time we now place most of her food on the bottom of the pool to encourage diving behaviour.

August 2016 – It has now been more than two months since Ossy’s first ‘miracle dive’ in June, so we are placing most of her food on the bottom of the tank to encourage her to dive even more. After three years stuck floating at the surface in our recovery pools, it was understandable that Ossy was initially hesitant to dive during the day time (every morning we would notice all her food had been eaten). She is now diving regularly and we can observe her more often swimming on the pool bottom during the day.

September 2016 – Ossy is unable to dive straight down, but with the additional space (following the Flying Turtles departure) she can now take a “running start” she is able to pull herself under the water’s surface. In addition to the extra space, new Environmental Enrichment Devices (EEDs) were given to the turtles to provide additional stimulation and improve their environment. Enrichment with EEDs and a variety of foods plays a vital role in keeping our turtles healthy, both mentally and physically.

Ossy Olive Ridley turtle, recovered from floating syndrome
Ossy's Miracle Dive

Our Olive ridley turtle Ossy has been with us since now three years. She was found on 22 August 2013, in a ghost net close to the island of Madhirivaadhoo (Baa Atoll). Ossy lost her left flipper during her entanglement. After her wound being treated and healed, she was still suffering from the floating syndrome that does not allow her to dive and thus stay floating at the surface. After trying multiple methods and medication to get rid of the gas trapped under her carapace for three years, our hope started to go when suddenly, we saw the following... Sometimes, when your eyes see the unexpected, you call it a miracle... We believe that in this case, as science has not given us any explanation yet, we should call it so.

Posted by Marine Savers on Sunday, 17 July 2016
Ossy Olive Ridley turtle, recovered from floating syndrome

Update 10 July 2017 – Release Day !

After finding Ossy resting at the bottom of her pool for the previous six days in a row, we decided this morning to see how she would fare out in the open ocean … and she did very well!
After adjusting her diving skills and breathing, she surprised us all by swimming confidently and disappearing below the waves.

After four years in our rehabilitation centre, we were all very happy to release her back into the wild … but also a little sad to see her go.

Bon voyage, Ossy! 💚

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