Mumbai: Rare Olive Ridley turtle washes ashore at Juhu

The turtle seemed to have lost its left flipper to a fishing net and swam ashore after it exhausted itself during navigation, claim BSPCA doctors

On the day when a carcass of a 40-foot-long blue whale washed ashore near the coast of Rewas, Alibaug, Juhu police officials rescued an injured Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea) from the beach around 7 am yesterday. The turtle had lost its left flipper.

BSPCA hospital staffers treating the injured turtle, which has lost one of its flippers (circled)
BSPCA hospital staffers treating the injured turtle, which has lost one of its flippers (circled)

Upon spotting the injured animal, the patrol team immediately contacted Eco-Aco, an animal conservation NGO from Parel and informed it about the turtle. Soon, a few members of the NGO and two second-year veterinary students rushed to Juhu. Police officials said it was for the first time that any of them had seen such a large turtle.

Speaking to mid-day, one of the patrolling officials said, “Locals thronged the beach the moment the news about the injured turtle spread. We guarded the animal, as we didn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. Once the NGO members and veterinary students arrived, we helped them transfer the turtle to the animal hospital in Parel.

We waited there till the time they treated it.” Vets at the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) hospital said it appeared that the turtle had lost its flipper to a fishing net and came ashore, exhausted from its struggle to navigate.

They even claimed that seawater had festered the wound and the turtle was in need of immediate medical attention. “Due to loss of an appendage, the turtle might have found it difficult to navigate and ran ashore following exhaustion.

We cleaned its wound with potassium permanganate at the beach and rushed it to the hospital where it was sutured,” said Neelam Singh, a second-year student at Bombay Veterinary College. The turtle is currently under observation and will be released back into the sea once it is fit to fend for itself, said the hospital in-charge, B S Kadam.

Did you know?
Olive Ridley sea turtle is classified as a ‘vulnerable’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), and listed in Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as ‘endangered’.

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