POV

Olivia: A Turtle’s Astonishing Journey

Olivia was released on February 7th, 2012. Her transmitter functioned for one hundred and twenty-one days, in which time she traveled 3165.31 kilometers (1,967 miles).

Story by Icarus Blake - icarus@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos and video by Marine Savers

Olivia’s Journey from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

Two years ago, I traveled to the Maldives working on a story about plastic garbage in the ocean, and the damage caused by it. I stayed for a few days at the Four Seasons Resort in Landaa Giraavaru and went to visit the Marine Savers Center supported by the resort. One of their programs is The Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program. Two sea turtles, April and Olivia, were under the care of the center at the time. April had a frontal flipper amputated; she was then rehabilitated and released successfully back into the ocean.

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Olivia was found on January 23rd, 2011 drifting nearby one of the neighboring islands called Undhoodhoo. She was suffering from a severe head wound probably caused by a boat propeller. The time consuming and hard work of debridement had to be pursued during the first two weeks after her admission to the center. Injection of fluids (rehydration), antibiotics and regular force feedings count also among the important steps of the rehabilitation.

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Olivia was released on February 7th, 2012. Her transmitter functioned for one hundred and twenty-one days, in which time she traveled 3165.31 kilometers (1,967 miles). Her speed was an average of twenty-six kilometers per day or 1.08 kilometers per hour. She very quickly left the Maldivian waters and appeared to follow the predominating currents; first heading west, then turning north about six-hundred kilometers west of the Maldives where there was a gyre, then turning south before resuming travel west. In her final few days transmitting, she turned back and traveled about eighty kilometers east before once again resuming travel west. Her last known location was one thousand kilometers (six-hundred and twenty miles) East of the Somalia Coast and she was traveling westwards.

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

I recently exchanged emails with Yoann Sabathe, the center’s manager, and he assured me that, probably, Olivia is alive and well, and chances are that she just lost her transmitter.

I am not a fan of big resorts on remote islands. I always think they contribute to the destruction of the fragile eco-system. But I have to make an exception with the Four Seasons for their great efforts at being sustainable and actually supporting the eco-system. The Marine Savers is a great initiative. Please go see their website and support their work. They deserve it. Marinesavers.com

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Photo © Marine Savers

Olivia Turtle © Marine Savers

Photo © Marine Savers

April Turtle  © Icarus Blake

3 Responses to “Olivia: A Turtle’s Astonishing Journey”

  1. gaya says:

    These guys are doing the right thing. What a wonderful story. Thank you !!!!

  2. Dani says:

    This is an awesome story of such a beautiful animal. Way to go Marine Savers! We need more of you out there.

  3. Lucia says:

    These people are my kind of superheros! What a heartwarming story about this majestic animal! All animals have a right to live but unfortunately, the people who have the money to save them only care about themselves. Thankyou for saving these wonderful animals!