female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.176), admitted 21 June 2019, Himmafushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
Weight, Length: 18.0kg / 56.2cm (on admission); 21.6kg / 56.2cm (Aug-22); 21.4kg / 56.3cm (Jan-23).
Maw was found floating on the ocean surface, close to the local island Himmafushi (Kaafu Atoll) by Maldives Animal Welfare. She presented double amputation wounds on the left side, already healed from a previous entanglement. She didn’t appear to be dehydrated, but is suffering from buoyancy syndrome (floating and unable to dive).
Maw is under treatment and observation at our turtle rehabilitation centre. As soon as she starts diving and is able to rest at the bottom of her pool, she will be released back into the wild.
Updates May 2020
Maw’s favourite time of the day is breakfast and dinner! She quickly swims rush from one side of the pool to the other, to get a bite of her favourite foods.
She still suffers from turtle buoyancy syndrome, and is unable to dive down to the bottom of her pool.
Updates January 2021
This month, we transferred Maw from Kuda Huraa to our turtle rehabilitation centre at Landaa Giraavaru, where she will have larger pools to swim (including our ocean enclosure in the coming weeks). Hopefully, with more space and some inspiration from other marine creatures, she will regain her ability to dive.
Maw has already adapted to her new pool and her pool-mates; she is very energetic and always eager to eat.
Maw is healthy but somewhat lethargic, and is less enthusiastic about food than our other turtle patients.
Maw continues to be in good health; her appetite has improved, and she is learning how to interact with the variety of environmental enrichment devices (“pool toys”) we have introduced to encourage curiosity and interaction.
Maw showed no changes in health status this month. She has a very healthy appetite and is now interacting with all the pool enrichment devices. She enjoys her regular swims out in the lagoon and is actively trying to dive.
Maw enthusiastically enjoys swims out in the open lagoon, here with Dafne our resident turtle veterinarian.
Maw showed no changes in health status this month. She has a very healthy appetite and likes interacting with all the enrichment devices. She enjoys her swims in the ocean and is actively trying to dive (without success).
Maw has been out swimming on the house reef several times this month. Her condition is unchanged but she remains in good spirits. She has recently been moved to the ocean enclosure and is enjoying the extra space and change of scenery.
Maw’s condition remains the same. In our ocean enclosure out in the lagoon at Landaa, she was energetically practising her diving. Since returning to her rehab pool, her appetite is excellent, and she has even lost a little weight with all the exercise.
Maw has been helping out with our experiment designed to study the role of Environmental Enrichment Devices (‘pool toys’) in turtle rehabilitation programs at turtle rescue centres in the Maldives.
Maw has done well this month, and has been interacting with all her new pool toys very enthusiastically.
Maw has been getting used to being next to Frisbee again. She has finished all of her filming sessions for our behaviour experiment and we are planning to move her to spend some time in our ocean enclosure once the weather settles.
Maw continues to help out with our Environmental Enrichment experiment studying the role of ‘pool toys’ in the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles.
Maw, alongside Frisbee, has had several swims on the house reef and additionally spent some time out in our ocean enclosure.
Although Maw is unreleasable due to permanent injury, these swims are excellent exercise for her, allowing time in a more natural and stimulating environment.
Maw remains stable. She has been interacting with enrichment well, and is particularly interested in our ‘fish popsicles’- pieces of fish frozen into ice which can be chased and bitten while they melt.
October – December
Maw’s condition remains stable. She enjoys regular swims out on the House Reef, and remains active and interested in all aspects of her daily life.
Lagoon swims are important for rehabilitating injured turtles
Kat, our resident turtle veterinarian, takes Maw for a swim
Maw’s condition remains stable. She is interested in visitors, and often swims to the front of her pool to investigate newcomers through the glass window.
Maw’s status is unchanged. Her buoyancy does not vary; however, she is interested and engaged with visitors and enrichment alike.
Maw’s buoyancy has not improved, but she is otherwise healthy and active.
On 17 April, Maw refused the food offered to her as an evening meal. She showed no other issues, and her appetite recovered the the next day; she is currently under close monitoring.
Maw’s appetite is now excellent again, and there have been no further incidences of refusing food. Her positive buoyancy has not improved, but she is interested and engaged with visitors and enrichment alike.
June & July
Maw’s health has been steadily improving, so in July we transferred her to our colleagues at Kuda Huraa, for better use of our facilities. She has settled in well, and we wish her all the best in her new home!
On 4 July, the Kuda Huraa turtle team welcomed the return of Maw, who was transferred from Landaa. Maw loves feeding time, and swimming around the pool with her enrichment toys. She still presents with buoyancy syndrome, so we have started to take her for ocean swims at low tide. She had some difficulties at first, but soon got the hang things.
For reasons unknown, Maw’s health deteriorated this month, but thankfully after some TLC and close monitoirng, she’s returning back to her old self again.
August health diary
- 9 – Maw started to become lethargic during feedings, with loss of appetite and reduced enthusiasm.
- 10 – Lethargic behaviour continues; spitting food, both fish and shrimp. Under close observation.
- 11 – Lethargic behaviour continues. We administered subcutaneous fluids.
- 12 – More alert and active; now readily accepting and eating the shrimp.
- 16 – Started to accept and eat fish; increased levels of activity and enthusiasm.
- 17 onwards – improving.
We provide Maw with environmental enrichment devices (EEDs) for active stimulation, including a variety of objects that can be moved and manipulated; her current favourite is the square. We have introduced live feed (crab) into her diet, promoting hunting behaviours and providing supplementary nutrition. Tactile enrichment has also been introduced by scrubbing her shell, and she is interacting and responding well. We have also added an underwater resting area to Maw’s pool, where she can retreat for a period of reduced stimulation after a busy day.
Presently, our progress with Maw’s prosthetic flipper has been temporarily halted due to a perceived elevation in stress levels. She started exhibiting characteristic behaviours including “apprehensive” avoidance and periods remaining “inactive” but alert.
- Wood, L. (2022) Managing long-term wellness in captive sea turtles. Animal welfare, 31 (4), 423-432, 2022. Doi: 10.7120/09627286.31.4.007
Prosthetic harness for MAW