HameedhaRescue Turtle

adult male Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.243), admitted 18 December 2023, Baa Atoll, Maldives

Weight / Length: 26.0kg / 59.5cm (on admittance)

Hameedha (adult male Olive Ridley turtle) – admitted on 18 December, discovered floating and unable to dive by our Resort colleagues in Launch Section, travelling between Voavah and Landaa. On initial assessment, he showed no major injuries, with some carapace damage to lateral scutes, damage to right-side marginal scutes, and a 3cm healing wound on his neck. He also had a barnacle on his plastron and some algal growth on his carapace, and appeared mildly dehydrated.

After resting overnight in dry dock, Hameedha was placed into our white tank where he promptly attempted to dive repeatedly but without success. His buoyancy syndrome is severe, with approximately 80% of his carapace above water (more elevated caudally than cranially, and laterally equal). His carapace wound is showing signs of infection and attempted healing; dead tissue was debrided, including a loose fragment of bone.

Hameedha has been started on a course of antibiotics that will allow his immune system to fight the infection. The cause of buoyancy is perhaps due to the carapace wound, and he is under close observation. He has not yet shown much appetite, refusing most foods apart from a few prawns.

HAMEEDHA olive ridley turtle Maldives

January 2024 Updates

Hameedha’s appetite has vastly increased since last month, and he is now regularly eating all his prawn meals. In conjunction with this, his gut activity has improved and he is now passing faeces regularly.

His wounds have improved, with small bone sequestrae being removed in the first half of the month, but none since 11 January. The exposed soft tissues appear healthy on debridement, and the previously loose marginal scute seems to have become more secure.

But Hameedha’s buoyancy syndrome has not improved, with approximately 70% of his carapace consistently above the surface. Since 3 January, his buoyancy has become uneven, with the left side elevated above the surface while the right is submerged.

February

Hameedha is continuing to eat well, provided the food offered is prawns! He will occasionally eat white fish if offered in small enough pieces, but shows no interest in the darker meat, either spitting it out or completely shredding it with no consumption. He remains unevenly positively buoyant, but in the last week has appeared slightly lower in the water.

We are planning to send Hameedha for radiographs with Mariyam to determine whether targeted weight therapy is an appropriate treatment for his buoyancy syndrome.

HAMEEDHA turtle diving rehab Maldives

March

Hameedha is improving every day. Although he is still positively buoyant and cannot yet rest on the bottom of his tank, Hameedha is sitting lower in the water, with approximately 40% of his carapace now exposed compared to 75% exposure at admission.

During feeding time, Hameedha has shown dramatic improvement in his diving ability and is now capable of retrieving food from the bottom of his tank with great effort.

If he continues to improve at the current rate, Hameedha should be releasable within 6-8 weeks.

HAMEEDHA turtle diving rehab Maldives