Rescue & Rehabilitation

Sea turtles that nest along the Indian coast face several hardships and challenges during their lifetime.

Due to lack of stringent enforcement and awareness they encounter several difficulties in breeding, nesting and foraging. Annually many turtles are intentionally or accidentally injured – their limbs are amputated leaving them unable to swim and feed.

The TREE Foundation Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, which is run with special permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, has successfully treated and released different species of sea turtle namely Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill turtles. Some turtles unfortunately come to us too late and end up succumbing to the severe injuries prior to their arrival at the Centre.

Since its inception in 2010, the Foundation’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre has released many both adult and juvenile turtles back in to the ocean after nursing them back to health.

People seldom comprehend the quality of life and threats these sea turtles face in their life. Thousands of people, including trawl fishers, artisanal fishers, Forest and Fisheries Department officials and students, have undergone attitudinal change after witnessing the plight of turtles in rehabilitation. These turtles send a strong message about rampant fishing and irresponsible utilization of harmful fishing gear that adversely affects the turtles in the ocean. The turtles in rehabilitation become the ambassadors and voice for the turtles in the ocean.

Release of a Green Turtle by DFO

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Few of the turtles released

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Glimpses of a few turtles that were rescued and rehabilitated:

Alisha

A sub adult green sea turtle stranded in Marina Beach. She was encrusted in barnacles, dehydrated and very weak. On her arrival at the centre, she was given fluids to hydrate her and fish fillets daily. All her barnacles have been removed.

Dhanya

A young adult female Olive Ridley Turtle was found stranded on Marina Beach. Dhanya, had an injury in her left fore flipper, in the shoulder, and another injury in her hind left flipper. The injuries were due to entanglement in a fishing net. She was dehydrated and weak but recovered slowly.

Jagruthi

A female Olive Ridley turtle, rescued during the Turtle Excluder Device Trials done by TREE foundation. She had severe injury in her front right flipper. She was treated for the wound which was most likely caused earlier in the season due to entanglement in a fishing net. 

Jojo

Another male Olive Ridley turtle, who was stranded at Nainar Kuppm. He was missing two flippers on his right side, and was weak. He was given a lot of fresh fish and medications, fully hydrated and his energy levels are improved. His appetite returned and ate his food voluntarily.

Kelona

Is a juvenile green sea turtle who was stranded at Perundhuravu. She was the first rescued turtle at the TREE Foundation Rescue Centre for the 2015 season. Kelona was very weak however she improved slowly and ate solid food. She luckily had no external injuries, however she was in deep trauma.

Navya

A juvenile Hawksbill turtle, stranded at Kothuru, Vidavaluru Mandalam. The turtle was found to be highly dehydrated, and during course of treatment had been diagnosed with plastic and waste ingestion. She recovered slowly.

Oliver

Was a large mature male adult Olive Ridley turtle who was stranded at Neelankarai. Oliver was found to be heavily dehydrated, and had suffered a recent injury to the right front flipper, which had been chopped off. He also had a couple of other relatively minor injuries which were also treated. He made good progress in his recovery.

Punarvi

A female Olive Ridley Turtle stranded at Perundhuravu. Was very badly injured due to a probable propeller cut. She was missing a large part of her carapace on the left front flipper side and had also a damage to her snout which was stopping her from eating. She had various smaller injures in her plastron and under her jaw. She underwent  specialised treatment at the centre and was a long term patient.

Rasi

A Hawksbill turtle who was stranded at Bogulu Mandalam, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. With special permission from the Forest Department she was treated. She was a juvenile who was highly dehydrated and had a sunken plastron. She was treated with medications which hydrate her and also given both fish fillets and whole fish heads which she enjoyed.

They Need Your Help!

The centre needs any old clean towels, blankets, bedsheets, scooty/car tire inner tubes, medical supplies or mosquito nets if you may have.