Kai is a juvenile loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) that was rescued and arrived at our Turtle Conservation Centre as a hatchling in October of 2020. Kai was extremely buoyant (right side up) when he came in, to the point where he was almost vertical in the water!
With the help of diagnostic imaging like X-ray, CT and MRI scans, we discovered that Kai had unevenly sized lung-lobes. A procedure called “broncho-alveolar lavage” was performed to treat and wash out a severe infection in Kai’s left lung. With time, care and space to recover, Kai recovered from the lung infection, although Kai's left lung still remains significantly smaller than his right lung, causing him to be unbalanced and stressed.
To help even Kai out, we added ballast weights to his right side. Kai also received pulmonary physiotherapy which used vibrations to encourage the growth of his stunted lung, and swimming exercises to promote fitness.
These efforts were very successful and today Kai has grown up strong (despite being slightly right-side-up). Kai can now dive, feed and swim without any weights or assistance – so it is time for the final stages of his rehabilitation before release. Kai will be spending some time in the I&J Ocean Exhibit, using the space for exercise, and we are very excited to see his interactions with fellow rehab turtles Amigo and Zelena.
On your next visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium - be sure to come and say "hi" to Kai!