Samy (RB.LO.087), rescue Olive Ridley turtle, admitted 15/09/2016, Royal Island Resort, Maldives
Weight: 5.0kg (on admission); 5.5kg (Nov-16);
A Juvenile Olive Ridley was found entangled in a blue multifilament ghost net (the most common) by a local Maldivian family who contacted us for further help.
‘Samy’ (named by the family) is in overall good body condition but has a severe jaw injury; the net was inside the turtle’s mouth causing lacerations and misalignment. These injuries require debridement of the dead tissue and application of ‘Medi-Honey’ (a sterile dressing of 100% Leptospermum honey that helps maintain a moist environment for wound healing). Currently, Samy is unable to eat properly so we are cutting food into very small pieces so the turtle does not have to chew. Samy catches the food floating through the water one piece at a time, as he cannot feed from the bottom of the pool.
Samy’s prognosis is good, as he has an excellent appetite and is very active, but recovery will require time to allow the muscles to heal to enable him to eat normally and regain full jaw strength.
Updates November 2016: Samy is currently off all antibiotics, active and maintains a healthy appetite.
Samy continues to make excellent progress, with scar tissue almost completely covering the wounds in the turtle’s mouth. To prepare Samy for release in the near future, the turtle’s mouth muscles need to be strengthened as the injuries caused muscle damage resulting in misalignment of Samy’s jaw. This is being done by offering Samy thin ice blocks made with the turtle’s fish diet, offering larger pieces of food (lobster) that Samy needs to chew. This is required for a successful release of Samy since Olive Ridleys eat lobsters and bivalves (these prey have tough shells that Samy will be required to crush in order to successfully feed).
Update: Samy was successfully released back into the ocean on 24 December 2016 (along with Jasmine).
In the first months of rehabilitation, Samy received frequent wound care using Medihoney as it is safe for ingestion. Samy had an incredible appetite and food was used as a physical therapy method in the last month to increase the strength of the turtles jaw to ensure Samy could eat natural prey successfully. Ice blocks, large pieces of food, and lobster were all utilized to help return Samy to the ocean. Although the turtle will always have a visible mouth deformity, this should not prevent Samy from being successful in the wild.