Michelangela Rescue Turtle

adult female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.236), admitted 20 January 2023, North Ari Atoll, Maldives

Weight / Length: 20.1kg / 54.0cm (on admittance);


Michelangela was rescued on 19 January 2023 by Sandies Bathala and Werner Lau, Bathala Divers in North Ari Atoll (thanks guys, for the rescue and for sharing your photos with us).

Michelangela was found in a large ghost net (discarded fishing gear) with two other turtles. The other two turtles were cut loose and set free, as they did not have serious injuries. Michelangela was sadly missing her front left flipper (from the entanglement), and was unable to dive below the water surface.

Michelangela was flown by seaplane (with the kind help of Trans Maldivian Airways) and is now in our Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Kuda Huraa.

Her wounds from the net are across all flippers, and her carapace has been cut around the edges. Unfortunately, she also arrived with a prolapsed cloaca, and is receiving daily honey wraps to reduce the swelling and aid in her recovery.

MICHELANGELA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
MICHELANGELA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives

Michelangela has been started on antibiotics, and the prolapse was put back in place and stitched up by our resort doctor (thank you!) She  is now able to pass faeces, and the stitches have been removed.

Michelangela was originally placed in one of our smaller glass pools so we could monitor the prolapse and stitches. Once we realised she was becoming less buoyant, she was moved to a larger pool with space to practise diving. The next day, she was found resting on the bottom of the pool and is now being fed on the bottom, encouraging her natural foraging behaviours.

February Updates

Michelangela was awarded our patient of the month in February! 🥇 She has finished her course of antibiotics and her wounds are all healing well (with continued debriding). While on the treatment table, she is calm and well-behaved.

Throughout the month, Michelangela has been diving down for food, and resting on the bottom of the tank. She enjoys sleeping with her head in a ‘cave’ added to her tank as an enrichment device. She is now off-medication and displaying excellent diving ability, so once her open wounds have healed she will be ready for release.