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WATCH: Maia the rescued green turtle on her way to full recovery

Published Aug 23, 2021

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DURBAN - A JUVENILE green turtle admitted to the uShaka Sea World after she was found with a woven plastic sack around her left front flipper, is well on her way to recovery.

In December last year, Maia was found 1km north of Bhanga Nek with a serious wound on her flipper.

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The team at the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) said she was named Maia, which means courage or bravery in Maori.

“Although she was alert and responsive on admission, she appeared very tired. We administered fluids, removed a large portion of the bag and left her to rest for the night. It was evident that she would need to undergo surgery the next morning as she had lost 65% of her flipper as a result of the damage caused by the plastic bag,“ the team said.

The wound on her flipper. Picture: SAAMBR

This is how Maia’s flipper was tied by the plastic. Picture: SAAMBR

Her surgery was successful and a large portion of the necrotic tissue was removed without any blood loss.

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Blood samples and radiographs were taken to give the team a better understanding of Maia's current state of health.

Maia showed some symptoms of infection and has been placed on two courses of antibiotics.

The team suspected from her initial radiograph images that she might have tried to bite the plastic bag which was caught around her flipper and in the process ingested pieces of plastic.

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Senior quarantine aquarist, Malini Pather, said Maia's flipper was “completely necrotic” (dying or dead).

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"Turtles are, however, incredibly resilient creatures and are able to adapt with three flippers in the wild. Maia is an exceptionally beautiful animal with an incredible fighting spirit and we are doing our best to help her recover," Malini said.

In a recent update, the SAAMBR said her progress over the past eight months had been slow but steady and last week week she entered a new chapter in her journey to recovery. She was introduced to the turtle exhibit in the aquarium where she will continue to regain her strength and mobility.

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