09 th December 2018 | Posted by Marine Biologist
Ruby, the juvenile Olive Ridley turtle, was found next to our wedding champa tangled in a plastic jute sack, which had become wrapped tightly around her front flipper and neck. Luckily she was spotted floating on the surface and rescued by the Popler family (David, Beth, Grace and Luke) who brought her ashore to our Marine Biologists, who were then able to untangle her and provide cleaning and care for her wounds. After a night of rest and re-hydration Ruby was transferred to the turtle rehabilitation centre at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, where she will be able to recover fully under the care of the Reefscapers team, and be released back to the big blue soon.
Ruby floating on the surface. Photo credit David Popler
Ruby on the pontoon boat after being rescued. Photo credit David Popler.
Ruby with Marine Biologists Sarah and Tiana and Beth, David, Luke and Grace. Photo credit David Popler.
Ruby on the way to Four Seasons Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
Olive Ridley’s (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the smallest species of sea turtle, and are a species not usually encountered on Maldivian reefs, as they have a pelagic (or open ocean) lifestyle. Unfortunately because they spend a lot of time foraging in the open ocean they often come into contact with marine debris such as ghost nets (discarded or lost fishing nets) and plastic bags or sacks which they can subsequently become entangled in. They then drift with the ocean currents often ending up here in the Maldives.
This rescue is unfortunately one of many that regularly happens around the Maldives, and the rest of the world. It just goes to show the impact that marine litter can have on our wildlife, and the importance of reducing our waste and plastic usage. Ruby was very lucky to have been found… many are not.