It's always exciting to see a turtle out on a snorkel trip, but last Thursday's snorkeling group got a little more than they bargained for when our ever vigilant boat crew spotted a sick hawksbill turtle as they were setting up the boat. Our guests were able to watch as Josie, assisted by the crew, recovered the sick turtle so that it could be sent to the local turtle hospital.
Thanks to the training provided by Martin Stelfox from the Olive Ridley Project, our crew are able to identify sick or injured turtles, and know exactly what to do when they find one! We received the phone call from the boys on the boat whilst we were delivering our briefing and Josie raced down the jetty to help them out.
There are a few tell-tale signs which help us to identify sick turtles, and unfortunately this was not a false alarm, as this little hawksbill was exhibiting quite a few - she was underweight, had algae growing not only on her shell, but also on her flippers, and she was moving in a very lethargic manner. Whilst our boat crew quickly put together the equipment that Josie might need, she dropped into the water to have a closer inspection. She made the decision to bring the turtle onto the jetty for a full examination before deciding to send it to Four Seasons Turtle Rehab Centre for further care.
|Algae on the shell is normal for this species, |
but we can clearly see a large amount of epifauna on her flippers.
As she approached, the turtle made no attempt to swim away, so with the help of the crew, she brought it safely onto land. After a quick once over, the poorly turtle was placed in a small water tank and was transported almost immediately to the Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa, 15 minutes away. Josie didn't leave the turtle's side until she handed it over to turtle expert Jamie Fisher, who informs us that the little turtle is still in a critical condition, but has shown slight improvement over the week.
In Maldives, there is a lack of veterinary equipment, and the Turtle Rehab Centre relies mostly on donations from guests. Because there is no x ray machine or facilities to do blood work, we are no closer to understanding why this turtle is sick, but Jamie is doing everything in her power to help the turtle gain weight and become more active. You can visit the Marine Savers website to see more about their amazing work with turtles, and keep checking back here at Lankanfushi.com for more updates as our little turtles story unfolds! We hope she makes a speedy recovery!