On Monday, December 5th, we received a call from the Tuna Factory on Felivaru, a neighbouring island to say they had an injured turtle with a damaged flipper. What we found on arrival was far worse than we had imagined. We were expecting a back fin to be damaged what we found was her right front fin to barely hanging on. She had been pulled up in fishing net which has severely severed her right flipper.
We managed to get her back to our marine centre, one person carrying her, one person carrying the fin. Unfortunately, due to the severity of her injuries the flipper had to be amputated – by the local surgeon, a first for him!
For the first three nights we took shifts round the clock to watch her, keeping her wet and ensuring her bandage stayed on. Initially she was too weak to lift her head to breathe so we had to keep her out of water to prevent her from drowning.
On Thursday we filled the tank with water and much to all of our relief she floated and was able to lift her head to breathe! She was so much happier to be back in water! And we were all delighted!
On Friday morning, for the first time she showed interest in food and this morning (Saturday) she finally ate some tuna, much to our relief!
We have named her Nema, she is an Olive Ridley turtle and we estimate she is around 35 years old.
Special thanks to Lhavivyani Atoll Hospital for all their help over the last few days – we couldn’t have done it without them!