Thursday, April 11, 2013

3 more Olive Ridley turtles freed from ghost nets.


It's been just a month since the last time we rescued an Olive Ridley sea turtle. Yesterday morning , close to the Banana Reef, Gili boat crew found THREE Olive Ridley's tangled up in a discarded fishing net.

Dive centre team kindly volunteered to help our marine biologist to free the turtles. On the boat we carefully cut the nets away from turtle limbs. The curved carapace length measurements of three turtles were taken, & the damage done by the nets was inspected. 

The largest turtle was 61cm curved carapace length (CCL) and was very healthy with virtually no tissue serration. Second largest turtle was 56cm CCL, and the net has cut deep into the flesh of front right limb, the limb was however still fully mobile and the injury did not require treatment. Lastly the smallest tangled turtle was 48 CCL, and had minor tissue scraping on both front limbs. 

This is the 4th time we encounter Olive ridley turtles tangled/injured by marine debris. This time the turtles were healthy, with all limbs present and did not require any further care. It's hovewer sheer luck that our boat crew noticed the net and the turtles today. If they were not rescued the turtles would have kept moving trying to free themselves, and unfortunately, over time, cut-off their limbs on the nylon or simply get more and more tangled. 

We are sending a report together with ghost net samples to Marine Research Centre in Male.
Olive ridley sea turtles are rarely seen close to the coast and they live their life in the open ocean. They associate with natural oceanic flotsam (palm leaves, driftwood, etc.). Unfortunately In modern day world oceans are full of manmade debris, and these turtles end up getting tangled in plastics and nets, as they mistake them for a suitable habitat. It is perhaps not a coincidence that in just one year we have observed 6 Olive Ridley sea turtles that were in trouble.


Video from VK on Vimeo.

A quick update on the Olive Ridley rescued last month 

News have reached us from Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa, that the one-limbed sea turtle found in March  is eating well, however it is still suffering from buoyancy issues (i.e. floats on surface). The marine biologists of Four Seasons will keep us updated.  For the full story of this turtle click here ...