During September, we cared for 4 Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) at Landaa, and a total of 8 sea turtles at Kuda Huraa: 1 Green (Chelonia mydas), 3 Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) and 4 Olive Ridleys.
All our turtles are now long-term patients, and some will never be able to survive out in the wild. We are enhancing our environmental enrichment plan, to use a larger variety of different objects to encourage curiosity and stimulate the senses. Objects such as PVC frames, balls and brushes are being presented to the turtles for tactile stimulation. To simulate foraging and hunting behaviours, we are giving foods in ice blocks (‘fish popsicles’), and using a variety of floating devices to encourage interaction and problem-solving. We are also conducting weekly ocean swims for each of our patients.
For the next stage, a pilot study will be conducted to characterise the behaviour of the turtles with and without enrichment. We will use video recordings and ethograms to evaluate the effectiveness of the enrichment devices.
Louise, a rescued Olive Ridley turtle, was successfully released back into the ocean on 4 September (video below, right) following 8 months of rehabilitation and care at our turtle rescue centre (2 photographs below).