Varugadha Rescue Turtle

adult female Olive Ridley turtle (RB.LO.133), 26 June 2018, Rannalhi (S.Malé atoll), Maldives

 Weight / Length: 22.0kg / 54.6cm (upon admission); 26.4kg / 55.2cm (Sept-18); 21.6kg / 55.3cm (Mar-19); 23.6kg / 55.8cm (Oct-19); 

 

Varugadha was found by the Dive team in Adaaran Club Rannalhi (S.Malé atoll), floating in the water, and sent to our turtle rehabilitation centre on 26 June 2018. She presented with an old healed amputation (front right flipper) and a broken carapace (likely from a boat strike). She suffers from buoyancy syndrome so cannot dive; we will proceed with treatment and rehabilitation. We hope to X-ray her soon, to better target the treatment.
Varu is very active, and is sharing the tank with Chomper who she seems to be getting along with.

RB.LO.133 Varugadha (1) turtle rehabilitation Marine Savers Maldives
RB.LO.133 Varugadha (2) turtle rehabilitation Marine Savers Maldives
RB.LO.133 Varugadha (1) turtle rehabilitation Marine Savers Maldives
RB.LO.133 Varugadha (2) turtle rehabilitation Marine Savers Maldives
RB.LO.133 Varugadha (2) turtle rehabilitation Marine Savers Maldives

September 2018

Varu is very active but still suffers from buoyancy syndrome, remaining floating on the water surface and unable to dive down even for food. She is now on antibiotics for a small wound on her nose.

October

Varu’s nose problem is now healing well, but recently her buoyancy syndrome seems to be getting worse, as she appears to be floating higher in the water. We hope to take her for X-rays soon, for a better diagnosis.

March 2019

Unfortunately, Varu has been fighting a viral infection over these past few months. She has recently started to improve with the current medication plan, and lesions are healing.
Varu is very resilient, active and has a voracious appetite. She particularly loves the prawn heads that we feed her.

April

Varu has recovered extremely well from her viral infection. Unfortunately, she has developed another infection in her left front flipper, which is why she remains on antibiotics. Nevertheless, Varu is very strong and active, and always devours all her food!

May

Varu has paid a visit to the vet this month to remove her wrist joint, as the bone was badly infected. The vet is currently testing the bacteria in the lab to see which antibiotic would be the most effective for treating the bacteria. This has provided our team with vital information and important training, and we hope to start these tests and treatments at our own Centre in the future (thanks, ORP team!)

Varu remains on antibiotics,  and her stitches can be removed in 3 weeks time. Nevertheless, Varu is swimming actively, eats all her food and is enjoying her newly renovated pool.

Varu rescue turtle Marine Savers Maldives (1)

June

Varu has been recovering well from her operation and her stitches were removed. Her flipper presents less inflammation and the open wound is beginning to close. She stopped her intramuscular antibiotic treatment and has a break for 5 days, before starting a 10 day course of Metronidazole oral antibiotics.

Varu was taken for her first ocean swim since her operation, which she loved! She was attempting to dive and although she still suffers from buoyancy issues, she managed to get deeper every time

Varu rescue turtle Marine Savers Maldives (1)

July 2019

Varu is making great progress with her diving ! After more than one year of treatment and care at our Centre, we now hope that she can be released back into the wild, some time in the future.

September

Varu continued to receive topical treatment on her operated flipper which is showing great improvements. She has been taken for regular ocean swims in which she always attempts to dive, however her buoyancy issues still do not allow her to stay down for a considerable amount of time. We are hoping that once she fully regains her strength and is able to dive deeper, there is the possibility that she could be released.

Varu – Olive Ridley rescue turtle Marine Savers Maldives 2 (10.2019) [1080]
Varu – Olive Ridley rescue turtle Marine Savers Maldives (10.2019) [1080]

 

Updates January 2020

Varu continues to suffer from turtle buoyancy syndrome – unable to dive below the water surface – but is otherwise in good health.

Varu was been transferred out to the ocean enclosure (on 7 December) to improve her fitness levels, strengthen muscles and lose some weight. She has been attempting to dive but remains buoyant.

We will reduce her health-monitor checks, in order to avoid the stress of being taken out of her new home in the enclosure.

Updates May

Despite continuing to suffer from turtle buoyancy syndrome, Varu is healthy and active, and continues to have a good appetite.

Updates June

No changes in health this month, although we have recently adjusted her diet and she has started to lose a little excess weight at a healthy rate.

Updates July

Varu showed no changes in her health his month; she’s now adjusted to her new diet and is very enthusiastic about her food.

She tries very hard to dive down to retrieve pieces of fish, but sadly, her turtle buoyancy syndrome persists.

This month she enjoyed fish ‘ice-popsicles’ as a form of environmental enrichment, to keep her mentally and physically stimulated.

Varu Olive Ridley turtle Maldives recovery pool
Varu Olive Ridley turtle Maldives treatments
Varu Olive Ridley turtle Maldives weighing-in
October Updates

Varu interacting with ‘environmental enrichment devices’ (EEDs) or turtle toys, to stimulate curiosity and new activities, as part of our recent experimentation to refine the rehabilitation process.

Sea turtle rehabilitation enrichment toys VARU
Sea turtle rehabilitation enrichment toys VARU
Sea turtle rehabilitation VARU (10) ocean swim

January 2021

Varu showed no changes in health this month. She continues to be healthy and active. She is very enthusiastic about her food, trying very hard to dive to retrieve it, but her buoyancy syndrome persists.

February

After some time playing with the plastic frame enrichment ‘toy’, it was noticed that Varu was sitting lower in the water. She was immediately moved to the ocean enclosure (9 February) where after just one day she began to dive (brief and shallow). After 19 days in the enclosure, she is now diving to the bottom for food and staying under water for long periods … very promising!

March

Good news ! After 1 month in the ocean enclosure, Varu is now able to dive to retrieve her food, and rest at the bottom with very little effort. Hopefully we will be able to release her soon, back into the ocean where she belongs.

Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers
Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers
Sea turtle (Varu) rehabilitation enclosure Maldives Marine Savers

26 March 2021 … Release Day ! 🙂 

After a total of almost 3 years of treatment and care at our turtle rescue centre, we fitted a satellite tracking tag and released Varu back into the ocean. Bon voyage, little friend … wishing you safe travels. 💙

Varu sea turtle satellite tracking Maldives
Varu sea turtle satellite tracking Maldives
Varu sea turtle satellite tracking Maldives

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