Sea Turtle Stranding (3 photos, above)
On 6 May, we received a call about a stranded green turtle on a beach in Maadhoo (South Ari Atoll). The large 65kg adult female turtle (‘RB.CM.034’) was transferred to our rescue centre at Kuda Huraa in a very weak condition, but without obvious injuries. After a team effort, she was given antibiotics and fluids, but sadly died on day two. Under consultation with Kat, our vet at Landaa, we performed an autopsy but no abnormalities were found.
Sea Turtle Rehabilitation
At the close of May, we were caring for three Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), one Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and one Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in our Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa.
At Kuda Huraa, we continue to care for Ari (52.6cm, 18.4kg), our amputee Olive Ridley patient transferred from Landaa on 12 March. She has settled in nicely and is eating well; her buoyancy appears to be improving and she enjoys regular ocean swims with us out in the lagoon. Ari continues to be very popular with guests and staff alike. She enjoys chasing a frozen fish ‘popsicle’ around her tank, simulating a hunt for food.
Turtle Nest Protection
On 16 March, we helped the Environment Ministry to relocate a Green turtle nest from a small beach in busy Malé city, to an ideal new home on ‘Secret Beach’ at Kuda Huraa. We installed simple fencing for protection, and started monitoring the nest each day. As hatching time approached, the outdoor lighting nearby was minimised, and we started routine night-time monitoring.
On 12 May, after an incubation period of 57 days, the sand over the nest began collapsing (at 5.30am) and the hatchlings could be seen moving. By 6.00am, the hatchlings had started to emerge and make their way successfully down the beach towards the ocean, all during a heavy rainstorm (we were unable to take any photos of the event).
Later that day, we excavated the turtle nest (standard procedure) looking for injured stragglers. From the 87 eggs in total, we calculated an emerging success of 76% as follows:
- 66 empty shells (from 66 healthy hatchlings).
- 18 eggs without embryo (tree roots may have been responsible for 5 of these).
- 2 eggs with dead embryos, and 1 egg yolkless.