[O]n 25 April, our dive team encountered a juvenile Olive Ridley turtle near Madhirivaadhoo that had become trapped in a drifting ghost net. The staff were able to cut the animal free, and it was immediately released unharmed back into the ocean. The following day we found a large net drifting near Kamadhoo and brought it back to our Centre. Thankfully no turtles had been entangled, but samples were taken from the net and entered into our Ghost Net Database.
We have now collected data on 109 Olive Ridley turtle rescues around the country since 2010. Already this year, there have been reports of 40 entangled Olive Ridley turtles in the Maldives with 29 of these being released back to the ocean by the person(s) who found them. Sadly though, this makes us wonder just how many trapped turtles are not being found as they drift through Maldivian waters, and how many boats pass by without helping. We are making every effort to expand our network of contacts around the country, and to collect more data on ghost nets and their dangers to the Olive Ridley turtles. We have provided other marine biologists information on how to help injured turtles and how to transfer them to us if necessary, for treatment and rehabilitation.
We currently have four turtles under our care: Coco, Ossy, Naushad, and our long term resident Zahiya.
Coco is a seven month old Green turtle handed over to us by Chiara from Coco Palm. She belonged to a staff member of the resort and was being kept as a pet. In the last month she has strengthened her muscles and we are getting ready to release her during the first week of May.
Ossy was found on 22 August, close to Madhirivaadhoo in a ghost net. She has been seen on two occasions at the bottom of the pool and is making more efforts to dive during feeding time. It is hoped that she can be released in May with a satellite tag to track her progress.
Naushad is making progress with her injury to both left flippers. She has also been seen at the bottom of the pool and is diving well for food, especially in the new deeper pool. We are planning to release her in the next week as we believe she has made enough progress to be returned to the wild.
We are still in contact with an aquarium supplier in the UK about the possibility of transferring Zahiya to an aquarium abroad where she can live out the rest of her lift comfortably.
We have now rescued 44 Olive Ridley turtles at Landaa Giraavaru in three years. 25 of those turtles spent some time at our centre and were released after rehabilitation. We have experienced only 3 deaths of turtle in our care.
UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that Naushad and Coco were successfully released back into the ocean on 2 May. You can watch our video of these fun events below (thanks, Nicolas) –
[O]ur new pool was opened last month and our turtle residents have been enjoying the deeper waters, practising their diving. The glass panels also allow guests to see into the pools, and it’s a popular attraction especially during feeding time.
Each of the pools has been equipped with a large three-inch inflow pipe (to maximise circulation of fresh seawater) and they can be fully drained for cleaning. The pool walls have been treated with epoxy primer and polyurethane paint; algal growth has not been a problem (despite the extra light from the windows) and the smooth surfaces are proving easy to keep clean.
Our new residents move in