Juvenile Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.108), admitted 12-Mar-17, One & Only Reethi Rah, North Malé Atoll, Maldives
Weight: 35.5kg (admission); 35.0kg (May 2017);
Length: 66.5cm (admission); 67.1cm (May 2017);
Sweetie was rescued by boat crew from One & Only Reethi Rah Resort while out on a snorkelling excursion. She was found floating, struggling to dive and was missing her front right flipper, which had a small open wound.
Sweetie was promptly brought to our facility at Kuda Huraa by our resident marine biologists and was admitted for wound care and fluid therapy. Upon arrival we treated her wound with raw honey to remove harmful bacteria that would impede the healing process. Due to her noticeable buoyancy issues, the team used coelomocentesis techniques to extract any air potentially trapped under her carapace. Sweetie is slowly settling in and becoming more active, attempting to dive frequently and has gaining a substantial appetite, particularly for lobster and squid!
Update 30 March 2017
We have been making daily efforts to remove as much gas as possible from her body cavity; we estimate that 4000+cc of air has been removed. Despite this treatment, she is not showing any noticeable improvement in her buoyancy in the water or her ability to dive. Because of her aggressive nature, she is unable to be in the largest pool with our other rescue turtles; she is in a smaller pool which is causing her to become agitated during treatments and disinterested in food. In April we plan on consulting with the vet in Baa Atoll.
Sweetie doesn’t seem to enjoy the company of any other turtles. As a result, a barrier had to be made in our largest pool to separate our two adult Olive Ridleys. Since then, her diving progress has not improved so we are in communication with the vet at the Olive Ridley Project.
Sweetie has continued to be isolated from other turtles; she spent a week in Pool 2 (our longest pool), where she made many attempts to dive. We now attach a dive belt with a 1kg weight during the day, to help balance her out while she swims. She has a very healthy appetite, but needs to avoid ingesting any bones and skin due to a persisting cloaca problem.
Sweetie continues to be a very active individual. Still has noticeable problems with her buoyancy. Throughout July we attached a weighted dive belt (1-3kg) around her to assist her in the water; this proved to be helpful during feeding times and she is very persistent at trying to get herself under the surface.
Sweetie is now more relaxed since having the pool all to herself. Her flotation problem seems to be linked (at least in part) with stress; we keep monitoring her progress and have started to research new ideas to help with buoyancy.
Sadly, Sweetie died on 2 November due to pneumonia and kidney failure. She was presenting lethargic behaviour, and being treated with antibiotics and hydration in a dry-dock area.