female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.225), admitted 13 October 2021, South Ari Atoll, Maldives
Weight / Length: 15.0kg / 52.3cm (on admittance);
Ari, a female Olive Ridley sea turtle, was found during a dive trip at Mahibadhoo rock, close to Centara Grand (South Ari Atoll). She was badly entangled in a ghost net (discarded fishing gear), and cut free by the BestDives team (thanks, guys!)
After admittance and initial treatment at our Kuda Huraa Turtle Care Centre (13 October), Ari was sent to our Turtle Rehablitation Centre at Landaa (15 October), for specialist veterinary treatment. She was badly injured, with one front flipper already missing, and the other almost amputated; she had several lacerations on her shell and head, and was severely dehydrated.
Once Ari was stabilised with fluids and medication, she underwent surgical procedures on both front flippers to clean and close the amputation wounds. Following surgery, her injuries started to heal nicely, but her spirits declined; she was barely swimming and completely lost her appetite.
Thankfully, after 7 days, Ari started responding to the medications (fluids, antibiotics and analgesics) and showed a marked improvement in health; she started eating again, and is now actively swimming around her recovery pool.
Unfortunately, with two front flippers missing, Ari would be very unlikely to survive in the wild. This makes her an ideal candidate for our on-going Flying Turtle program, that finds permanent overseas homes at zoos/aquaria for unreleasable turtles to live in larger tanks with specialist care. Here, they also act as long-term ambassadors for sea turtle conservation, raising awareness of the threats of ghost nets and ocean pollution.