Posted On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 09:28:28 AM
Bangalore: It’s not just humans who go through long-drawn medical procedures. An 18-year-old Pond Terrapin turtle, that was found with a gaping hole in its shell, is ready to take to the waters after four months of intensive treatment at a wildlife shelter here.
“This was one of the lengthiest procedures we carried out for a turtle,” Sharath Babu R, honorary wildlife warden, Bangalore Urban, told Mirror. “He was treated for over four months and is now fit to be released. We are happy that he has recovered despite the serious injuries.”
The turtle was badly injured by a crowbar while soil was being dug up on New Airport Road. There was a gaping hole — not only had the turtle lost three inches of its shell, its body was injured too.
The turtle was brought to the wildlife shelter in March. Since its injuries made it susceptible to infection, it was immediately put on treatment. “Initially, he was kept under observation for the first seven days during which time he was put on saline and antibiotics.
We then gave him a break and after three days, treated his shell using epoxy resin and fibreglass. As there were chances of a lung infection, his lungs were monitored,” said Romit Shilpe, one of the wildlife volunteers who treated the turtle.
Two months later, wildlife experts found that the shell was successfully replaced. After this, the area inside the shell that was injured was monitored closely. It was treated after cleaning the injured part.
After three months of treatment and a strict diet to help the turtle recover, which included feeding it with meat thrice a day, the turtle was put through several fitness tests. There were dive tests to check if he could manage in the water.
“We watched if he moved his head up and down, which is a sign of breathing and proper lung functioning. Initially, he struggled but after several rounds of dive tests, he has been declared fit.
If the hole had still existed and if air had been locked in, he could not have gone in and come out easily,” added Shilpe. “He was treated on par with human beings. He was brought with a hole. Now, he is going back healthy. We are happy for him, but it’s risky for people to try and do what we did for him,” Sreeram, another wildlife expert, added.