KanimaaRescue Turtle

adult female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.241), admitted 22 November 2023, N.Malé Atoll, Maldives

Weight / Length: 34.0kg / 66.5cm (on admittance)

On 22 November, we received a report from local villagers of two sea turtles entangled in ghost netting, floating inside the lagoon close to Kuda Villingili Resort (N.Malé Atoll). We immediately despatched a rescue team and brought the stranded animals to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Kuda Huraa for urgent medical treatment. Special thanks to our Dive Team colleagues for their invaluable assistance in the rescue.

Donatello and Kanimaa are being treated for their injuries.

‘Ghost nets’ are discarded or lost fishing gear, drifting around the world’s oceans, which make up 10% of marine plastic waste. As the NE monsoon approaches, with currents flowing from east to west, more entangled Olive Ridley turtles drift into Maldivian waters from their breeding and foraging grounds in India, Sri Lanka, and SE Asia.

  • Stelfox et al (2019). Untangling the origin of ghost gear within the Maldivian archipelago and its impact on Olive Ridley turtle populations. Endang Species Res 40: 309-320. [PDF]
  • Stelfox et al (2015). High Mortality of Olive Ridley Turtles in ghost nets in the central Indian Ocean. BOMBLE Ecology-14: 1-23. [PDF]
KANIMAA rescue Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
KANIMAA rescue Olive Ridley turtle Maldives

Kanimaa is an adult female Olive Ridley with a carapace measuring 67.0cm wide / 66.5cm long (over the curve), and weighing 34.0kg. Upon arrival, Thais, our resident turtle veterinarian, gave him a her health check and started treatments.

Kanimaa was found to present an ideal body score, altered buoyancy (central positive), hypoglycemia, mild dehydration, carapace and soft tissue lesions, subcutaneous edema, and an ulcer in the right eye.
The ghost net had been mostly entangled around her shell and the hind right flipper. This had caused bilateral depressions on the carapace in the last lateral scutes and marginal scutes (7th/8th right side, and 9th/10th left side); superficial bilateral lacerations on the shoulder and neck (already healing), bilateral superficial abrasions in the inguinal region and hind flippers.

Kanimaa is receiving treatment for dehydration, along with regular wound cleaning and topical treatments, systemic antibiotics, nebulization and eye drops.

  • 23 November – she ate for the first time and has been showing a good appetite.
  • 25 November – she started diving but still cannot rest on the bottom of the tank. To stimulate diving activities and to increase dive time, she is now being fed on the bottom of her pool.

January 2024

With all her wounds healed, being able to dive, rest on the bottom of the tank and with a big appetite, Kanimaa was released on New Years Day. As soon as the ocean spray hit her she sprinted towards the ocean and swam away. An amazing start to 2024!

Bon voyage, Kanimaa! 👋 💙