Early in the morning on the 27th, as our housekeeping team were stealthily crossing the lagoon, they spotted a large conglomerate of discarded nets entangled in the branches of a bamboo trunk! They went to collect it, and upon closer inspection, they realized two Olive Ridley Turtles has also become entangled in the mess…
Olive Ridleys being freed from the net
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon sight in the Indian Ocean, and due to Vaidas’ training, the team knew exactly what to do. They called the Marine Biologist and brought the net with the turtles attached to the beach, where they began to slowly cut away the netting from their flippers. The poor turtles were seriously injured, but despite this, they seemed strong.
Ropes had rubbed the facial scutes right off
A speedboat transfer to theturtle rehabilitation centreat Four Seasons was arranged and less than two hours after being found, our turtles were in the safe hands of Sam Hope and Sarah Davies from Seamarc based at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa.
The Seamarc team treating the injured turtle (Photo Credit: Seamarc)
Following rescue of marine life from ghost nets, we collect data from the ropes and nets themselves found within the conglomerate. We send this data to theOlive Ridley Project;an NGO working in the Indian Ocean to reduce the number of ghost nets in our environment. Data such as mesh size, type of knot, and colour of the rope can all help to identify where it originated from, and by documenting what was caught inside, we can begin to inform fishermen about which types of nets are more likely to pose threats to wildlife if discarded than others.
The different ropes found within the conglomerate
Bamboo trunk with various nets, ropes, and floats attached
Mesh size of the blue multi filament net which caught the turtles
Our Housekeeping team were given the opportunity to name both turtles. After some debate, they provided me with ‘Srabonti’ for the female, and ‘Mamun’ for the male. Despite a sad story, hopefully our data will be helpful in providing a more sustainable future with less ghost nets, and more free turtles! I will keep you all informed of Srabonti and Mamun’s progress in the coming days. It looks like they still have a long way to go before release is possible.