August 2022 Turtle Updates
Cora was admitted to the centre on the 11/8/2033. Cora is a male Olive Ridley sea turtle. Cora Cora Maldives Resort found Cora floating, covered in algae and gooseneck barnacles with both front flippers already amputated from being entangled in a ghost net. As the ghost net was unable to be found we can assume that he managed to rip himself free of the ghost net unfortunately leaving both his front flippers behind. Cora faces buoyancy syndrome also but is strong and continually try’s to dive. For this reason we are sure that he can overcome his buoyancy issues with rehabilitation dive training. We conducted staff training on turtle retrieval and rescue for Cora Cora Resort and it has certainly paid off! We would like to thank the team from Cora Cora Maldives for their efficient rescue of Cora and extreme care and concern in the transport to our centre.
Left: Cora recovering in the marine centre, two weeks after he was admitted. Right: Cora the day he was found, covered in algae which accumulated from being entangled in the ghost net for an extended period of time.
Engaging with the local community and educating them on the importance of turtles, has proven to be of great value this month. Our centre is now home to 4 Maldivian Black Tortoises (Kanzu Kahambu). Although our centre primarily focuses on sea turtle rehabilitation, over this past year we have had six freshwater tortoises surrendered to AMC. This endangered species is native to Kaashidhoo Wetlands, where they are protected under the government. Unfortunately, due to their slow nature, they are vulnerable to being poached by local Maldivians where they are then sold as pets or given to relatives as presents.The tortoises will remain in our care until they are healthy enough to be released back into the wetlands of Kaashidhoo. Until then, we hope that with increased community education we can reduce this threat altogether.
Olga has been spending her time at her scratching post, itching her carapace. Olga has been endeavouring to develop her diving skills. On a single sea swim she has more than five dive attempts, however is still buoyant. To motivate her we created an enrichment feeding mechanism so she has to dive for her tuna. So far Olga can reach tuna suspended 30 cm deep, so we will continue to increase this depth until she can dive a little deeper.
Tom's been spending a lot of his time in his new tunnel. Tom was really calm when we took him for sea swims this month but he didn't attempt to dive. To increase his dive attempts we have introduced enrichment feeding into his rehabilitation. Tom can successfully retrieve tuna a depth of 28 cm deep. In the future we increase the depth of the tuna so he can slowly improve his diving skills.
Hope has also started some enrichment feeding as despite her condition, she is an excellent diver. Hope enjoys feeding from her seagrass tray daily however had not yet preiviousy been exposed to tuna enrichment. Frozen tuna was placed inside a piece of pipe for Hope to hunt for this month which, which kept her busy and stimulated!
Raskan has really enjoyed spending time in her new hiding tunnel. She has been taken on a few ocean swims this month but the current proved to be challenging for her as she is adjusting to life with no front flippers. Raskan has little strength in her back two flippers so we need to continue to take her on ocean swims so she can rely on the swimming ability of her back flippers for moving.
This month biscuits been enjoying the floating square toy inside his tank. Biscuit particularly enjoys the eyes from the tuna during feeding time, which he dives for. We recently introduced an enrichment feeding mechanism in Biscuit's tank which is attached to his floating square. Frozen tuna is inserted inside a tube which Biscuit needs to retrieve to feed. When the tuna is frozen, it creates an added challenge for Biscuit who is an avid diver and requires more of a challenge to keep him occupied.
Donatello always appreciates his daily seagrass. As soon as we put the seagrass enrichment in his tank, he devours it in about five minutes. Donny has been enjoying other aspects of enrichment feeding this month from live crabs which he has to hunt for to tuna suspended from a buoy which he has to retrieve. When Donatello is tired he can be found with his head underneath his seagrass board, sleeping soundly.
Kalo is uninterested in eating tuna so the volunteers have had to up their crabbing game to catch more crabs for him to eat! Kalo was transported to the sea cage this month after an initial health inspection at the centre. He made a real effort to dive, with some attempts completely submerging under the surface. We believe he will be able to fully dive soon and hopefully be released!