Mariyam Rescue Turtle

adult female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.246), admitted 24 December 2023, Vaavu Atoll, Maldives

Weight / Length: 21.5kg / 58.1cm (on admittance)

Mariyam (adult female Olive Ridley) – found on 24 December close to Cinnamon Velifushi Resort (Vaavu Atoll). She was floating in the channel with healed wounds (possible boat strike incident).

On admission to our Turtle Rescue Centre, she was found to be active, with an ideal body score, but mild dehydration. She also exhibits altered buoyancy (central positive) with 80% of the carapace out of the water.
Once her condition is stable and she has settled in, we will use carapace weights to encourage her to dive and improve buoyancy.

MARI rescue Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
MARIYAM rescue Olive Ridley turtle Maldives

Updates January 2024

Sadly, Mariyam hasn’t made much progress since last month. She is still extremely buoyant and accepts shrimp only every once in a while.

We have started a treatment plan that includes removal of air from the coelomic cavity, along with target weight therapy. The boat strike wounds were completely healed, indicating she has been buoyant for a long period. She is therefore considered chronic (> 4 weeks), with probable conformation and damage to the lungs. Sadly, cases like rarely recover, and she is unlikely to regain her full diving abilities.

February Updates

Mariyam had 1.8L of air removed from her coelomic cavity in an attempt to improve her buoyancy, but no major results were observed. She is a very fussy eater, accepting shrimp every once in a while, but simply shredding most of the offered feed.

On 9 Feb, Mariyam was transferred to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Landaa Giraavaru, where she will have a larger pool to help with her recovery.
On arrival at Landaa, Mariyam was clearly stressed from transportation and had multiple abrasions on her front flippers and her beak. She calmed down significantly after 24 hours of close observation. She has demonstrated a picky appetite, occasionally eating small amounts of prawns and fish, but mostly either ignoring or shredding offered food, while consuming very little.

As Mariyam has not lost any flippers, it is a priority to recover her diving ability as soon as possible for a prompt release. As she is so extremely buoyant, and the removal of almost 2 litres of air during her time at Kuda Huraa made no visible difference to this, we are planning to get her radiographed in order to better establish a treatment plan.

MARIYAM turtle buoyancy Maldives
MARIYAM turtle buoyancy Maldives
MARIYAM turtle buoyancy Maldives

March

Mariyam remains extremely buoyant, with approximately 80% of her carapace consistently above water. For the period 8-16 March, her appetite picked up and she was eating well, but since that time she has become significantly less interested in feeding and has shown no interest in food for the last 10 days. In an attempt to improve her appetite, we administered 2ml Metaclopramide intramuscularly every 24 hours for a period of three days (26-28 March inclusive) to stimulate upper gastrointestinal motility. Unfortunately, there were no improvements seen following this course of treatments.

When schedules allow, we are hoping to send Mariyam with Oekaashi for diagnostic x-rays.