Floating turtle dives back into the sea
Treated For Excess Gas, Buoyancy
Mumbai: An endangered green sea turtle, rescued by fishermen in Saphale more than a month ago, made it back to the sea on Friday. The turtle suffered from ‘floating syndrome,’ which rendered the reptile unable to dive. It was nursed back to health at the sea turtle treatment centre, jointly run by the forest department and the Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association (WCAWA) in Dahanu.
Floating syndrome, a condition caused by excess accumulation of gas in the body, can be life-threatening for sea turtles. A buoyant turtle can neither escape predators nor can it dive down to eat. Such turtles are also vulnerable to boat hits and getting entangled in fishing gear. “It’s a vicious cycle,” says wildlife veterinarian Dr Dinesh Vinherkar, who treated the turtle. Starvation leads to further gas formation, he says, adding while the former makes the turtle weak, the latter reduces its swimming ability. Buoyant turtles are also susceptible to dehydration due to constant exposure to the sun, explains Dr Vinherkar. “Their shells can also crack,” he says.
More than a foot long, the female young-adult turtle was lucky to receive medical help in time. It was rescued by WCAWA volunteer Pratik Wahurwagh and Dr Vinherkar treated it for two weeks after which it started diving in the swimming tank. Initially force fed, it later started eating on its own. The next two weeks it was given multi-vitamins and plenty of food so it could gain strength.
As Dahanu’s deputy deputy conservator of forests N S Ladkat released the turtle, WCAWA volunteers, their eyes moist, watched till she disappeared into the deep blue. “The feeling is beyond words,” said WCAWA founder Dhaval Kansara.
The green sea turtle inches her way back to the sea at Dahanu beach on Friday