Heidi, a 65cm 29kg male Olive Ridley Turtle, was found entangled in a ghost net in the Maldives 4 years ago.

Ghost nets are abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing lines and nets that float in our ocean and cause the injury and death of countless marine species across the globe.

Heidi’s entanglement caused life-changing injuries, including the loss of his front left flipper. His remaining front flipper suffered extensive muscle, nerve and blood vessel damage meaning he would not have survived in the wild. 

He was sent to the Olive Ridley Project Marine Turtle Rescue Centre. A charity that protects sea turtles and their habitats through rescue and rehabilitation, education and outreach and scientific research.

After extensive rehabilitation, it was decided that Heidi’s long-term future was to live out his days here, at the National Marine Aquarium.

Arriving in the UK at the start of November 2022, Heidi acclimatized to his new home, before moving to our Great Barrier Reef habitat.

Following many months of treatment and care, it became clear that alongside the injuries Heidi sustained from his entanglement in the ghost net, he also had numerous and previously unknown medical issues. Although we were able to remedy some of them, the damage to his joints meant that there was nothing we could do to improve his quality of life long-term.

So, following his latest CT scan, and after discussions with our vets, the difficult decision was made to put Heidi to sleep.

As you can understand, the Husbandry team is very upset with this outcome but I’m very proud of the effort and dedication that has gone into his care. We always knew that his amputation and nerve damage would one day cause issues, but it is still obviously a shame. As Heidi did not have a future at the rehabilitation centre in the Maldives, we gave him the best chance of living out his days in a more comfortable and mentally stimulating environment.’  Marcus Williams, Head Curator, National Marine Aquarium

Heidi may no longer be with us, but we are working hard to ensure his long-term legacy – as an Ambassador for Ocean Conservation. Helping us and our team inspire pro-Ocean behaviour across the UK and beyond, moving us towards our vision of a healthy Ocean.

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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