Emma Rescue Turtle

female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.233), admitted 18 October 2022, South Ari Atoll, Maldives


Emma, a female Olive Ridley sea turtle, was found floating on the ocean surface, close to Athuruga Resort (South Ari Atoll) by their dive team (thanks, guys!) She was injured, and unable to dive below the water surface, so was sent via seaplane and speedboat to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Kuda Huraa.

EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives

Emma is missing her front right flipper (exposed wound) and suffers from lacerations to her flipper and neck, due to prolonged entanglement in drifting marine debris. Our resident veterinarian performed surgery to remove the exposed bone, and then stitched up the open wound. Other wounds were cleaned and debrided, and she was given a full  health checkup.

Currently in our largest recovery pool, Emma is energetic and attempting to dive. She is only eating prawns, but we are trying other foods to increase the variety of her diet.

We are optimistic for Emma’s recovery, and hope to release her as soon as her injuries are healed and she is able to dive again!

EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA turtle surgery resident veterinarian Maldives

Emergency surgery by our resident veterinarian Katrina, ably assisted by turtle biologist Bethany

EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives


Emma’s wounds are healing slowly, and we continue to regularly debride the affected areas. On arrival, she used her remaining front left flipper a lot to swim around the pool and attempt to dive. However, she is now less energetic and has also stopped diving. We have started a new round of antibiotics to target any post-surgery infection, and have started physio manipulations to maintain the mobility in the  flipper joint.

We are concerned about Emma’s declining general health, and we are monitoring her closely. It is possible that she is now familiar and comfortable with her recovery pool, and realises there is no need to swim around. We are optimistic that she can recover, and hope to release her soon ! 💚


Emma has had a great month of recovery. After a course of antibiotics and daily physiotherapy, she is using her front left flipper again and attempting to dive. There is still a long way to go until she is diving perfectly and using her flipper to its full capacity, but we love seeing her progression every day!
Emma is still eating prawns and squid, and we have been training her diving skills by using our feeding enrichment devices. With continued training and physiotherapy, we hope she will be fit for release within the first six months of 2023! 🤞

January 2023

Due to the four new arrivals, Ari and Emma have been placed in our largest pool, now divided down the centre. So far, Ari seems shy and uninterested in Emma, but Emma is very curious about Ari! Ari has also been enjoying regular escorted ocean swims out in the open lagoon.


Ari and Emma continue to share our largest pool, divided down the centre, an arrangement that Ari seems unhappy about, whereas Emma loves seeing everything around her going on through the tank window.

Emma went on her first ocean rehabilitation swim this month, in the hope that it would encourage her to use her front left flipper. She surprised us all by diving straight away, by only using her back flippers, and tucking her front flipper under her shell. We hope that increased practice will encourage her diving skills and she will gain increased mobility in her injured flipper.


Emma had an amazing breakthrough, and has started resting on the bottom of the tank! We placed her in the shared large pool with Michelangela in the hopes it would encourage her to dive, and within a week we found her resting at the bottom of the tank! We then began placing her food at the bottom of the tank, and added a ‘cave’ made from large crates. She didn’t take to the food or cave immediately, but when we came back to check later in the day, the food was eaten and she was resting inside the cave!

Olive ridley turtle rescue EMMA Maldives


Emma has made great progress with her diving, and is now often found on the bottom of her tank. She loves resting in her new crate-cave with just her head sticking out, much to the amusement of guests. Usage of her left flipper has been increasing, and she is now able to successfully hunt live crabs for food in her tank, so we are hopeful she will soon be ready for release back into the ocean.

23 May is Release Day to commemorate World Turtle Day!

After 199 days of tlc at our centre, Emma was ready for release!

Emma was released on the reef flat in front of Reef Club. Our turtle biologist gave a small talk to guests about her journey with us before escorting her into the water and out into the big blue 💙

Emma release