AriRescue Turtle

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.

Ari stranded Olive Ridley turtle amputee Maldives

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.

Ari stranded Olive Ridley turtle amputee Maldives
Ari stranded Olive Ridley turtle amputee Maldives
Ari stranded Olive Ridley turtle amputee Maldives
Ari stranded Olive Ridley turtle amputee Maldives

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.

Updates November

Ari made fantastic progress this month! She finished her antibiotic treatments and her wounds are almost healed. In the following days, the stitches will be removed from her right front flipper.
Ari has a very healthy appetite and lots of energy. She’s been placed in the same pool as Frisbee; hopefully they will become comfortable with each other, so we can remove the divider to give more space.

December

The stitches from Ari’s surgical procedure were removed, and the flipper has closed properly. She has successfully transitioned into eating the full range of foods, and is steadily gaining weight. She is very active and enjoys playing with the pool enrichment toys.

Ari turtle rescue centre Maldives

January 2022

Ari continues to progress well and is displaying a healthy appetite. She has grown by 1cm in length, and gained 0.8kg in weight. She enjoys the pool enrichment devices, and is a great favourite with the guests.

February

Ari is doing very well, and maintaining a healthy weight. She has an excellent appetite, so mealtimes are her favourite time of day! She is interacting well with Frisbee through the divide between their pools.

March

Ari has been transferred to our turtle rescue centre at Kuda Huraa, where she will have more space and freedom to swim around. After the short sea plane flight, she is settling in nicely.
Ari has been eating well – 60g twice daily of reef fish and/or prawns. She is very popular with Resort guests and enjoys interacting with her visitors. She is excellent at swimming backwards and in circles, and is learning to dive deeper during feedings!

April

Ari is eating well, and her buoyancy appears to be improving – she is attempting to dive deeper for food, and has gained 2kg in weight.
Currently, Ari finds removal from her pool very stressful, so after her weekly health monitoring she was taken for a calming ocean swim… where she enjoyed lots of paddling and was even attempting to dive down to the patches of seagrass!

May

Ari has settled in nicely and is perfectly at home here; 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 is eating well, and enjoys chasing a frozen fish ‘popsicle’ around her tank, simulating a hunt for food.

June

Ari is happy and healthy, and recently became the star of Marine Savers social media! (below). We posted a video of her ocean swim to commemorate ‘World Sea Turtle Week’, which soon clocked up thousands of views and hundreds of likes. Ari enjoys her ocean swims as an integral part of her enrichment that benefits her buoyancy rehabilitation. A new scratching post has been introduced in Ari’s tank, and she has already been spotted using it, and resting underneath.

🌊 Come take an ocean swim with Ari at Kuda Huraa ! 💦


Join 📸 @bethanywilkinson (Turtle Biologist) and 🎬 @charliesp.mb (Marine Biologist) swimming in the ocean with Ari. This is done frequently as part of her enriched rehabilitation, with the aim of improving her buoyancy syndrome and to encourage her to dive for sea grass.

July

Ari is in good health, weighing in at 18.4kg/52.6cm.
She’s been eating lots of crabs this month, thanks to our Four Seasons apprentices. She is also enjoying the different types of enrichments in her tank, but due to bad weather she has not been for any ocean swims this month.

August

Ari has been eating a variety of different foods this month, as two large jellyfish washed up on the beach (a blue-bottle jellyfish, and a purple-crown jellyfish). She also enjoyed a sea walk on a calm day with a very low tide, and she loved eating the seagrass!

September

Ari is enjoying the occasional purple crown jellyfish and her sea swims in the lagoon. We have created a new buoyancy therapy program, with the hopes of re-enabling her diving abilities. We are recording her buoyancy levels and diving abilities (while feeding), and will soon add weights.

Ari injured sea turtle rehab swim Maldives

Ari enjoys a lagoon swim and a seagrass lunch

October-November

Ari has taken a downgrade to a smaller pool, since the arrival of Emma into the main pool at Kuda Huraa. She continues to be the centre of attention with our guests. Ari enjoys eating seagrass when she is out on her ocean swims, but will not eat seagrass if floating in her pool (we even attempted a seagrass ice block, but she was not very interested at all!)

December

Ari’s health has remained stable ever since arriving from Landaa in March. For a while, we thought her buoyancy was improving, but she remains positively buoyant and can be disinterested when we try to use enrichment devices to improve her diving.
But Ari is always high in energy and a favourite with our guests – winning over everyone’s hearts and being the ambassador for her species by highlighting the threats sea turtles face due to plastic pollution and fishing nets.

Marine Savers turtle biologist Bethany
ARI stranded Olive Ridley Maldives closeup
ARI stranded Olive Ridley Maldives EED