On Sunday 19th April 2021, a sub adult green turtle (Chelonia mydas) was admitted to uShaka Sea World after being found stranded on a beach at La Mercy.
We estimate that she is between 8 and 10 years old but it is difficult to say for certain as growth rates are dependent on a variety of factors. At this stage we are unable to determine her sex but because she is such a tenacious fighter, we have decided she must be female and have named her Gabby.
It was apparent that Gabby had been floating for quite some time before stranding as her carapace, flippers and head are covered in epibiota; in this case barnacles. She is still very weak and although not severely dehydrated, she is barely able to move or lift her head.
Shortly after her arrival the vet and turtle rehabilitation team conducted preliminary diagnostic tests, the results of which indicated some concern for her white blood count and total protein levels. Radiographs taken today suggest possible pneumonia. Our veterinarian, Dr Lampen, has administered IV fluids to stabilise her and antibiotics to help with any possible infection.
In an effort to rehydrate her, we are administering sub-cutaneous fluids and leaving her to rest in a shallow fresh-water bath.
We will continue to monitor her closely over the next few days and we hope that she keeps fighting!
We will keep you updated on her progress.
Gabby Update 30th April 2021
We are delighted to report that Gabby is doing much better than originally anticipated and is indeed a tenacious fighter. There was a sudden positive turnaround in her condition on Monday this week. Up until this point she had not moved much or lifted her head since her arrival. Although she spends most of her day resting, she is a lot more alert and is showing an interest in food with a preference for sea lettuce. We are still very guarded about her prognosis but these are all positive signs for recovery.
On arrival her carapace was covered with an excessive amount of barnacles, many of which were deeply embedded causing discomfort. The fresh-water bath she was placed in shortly after arrival managed to rid her of most of the barnacles which were even in her nostrils and under her nails. She is now given a weekly scrub with a betadine solution to help control any possible infections which could result from the removal of the barnacles.
Gabby is fortunately looking stronger each day and is receiving lots of TLC from the rehabilitation team. She, like the many green turtles before her, enjoys a back scratch and could be seen earlier today doing a little ‘jig’ every time one of her caretakers scratched her carapace.
Gabby Update 20th June 2021
Unfortunately, after spending more than a month fighting for her life, Gabby passed away peacefully on Sunday 20th June. Gabby was only 6 – 7 years of age and all indications were that she had been ill for a long time before she was admitted into the care of uShaka Sea World staff.
Gabby did appear to be on the mend after her second course of anti-biotics and even stared eating which gave the staff hope that she was on the mend.
The autopsy showed extensive tissue damage to her internal organs. Turtles, like all other living creatures are susceptible to bacterial and other infections.
The SAAMBR team tried their best to help Gabby and as they do will all the animals in their care, they never gave up until she moment she passed.
When we receive the histopathology results, we will have a clearer indication of the cause and duration of her illness.