On the 24th of March 2007, during the monthly monitoring visit to Cinq Cases, at the south eastern part of Aldabra atoll, an adult Green turtle was rescued by the rangers. The trapped Green turtle was encountered in a champignon cavity about thirty meters from the sea while the rangers were conducting coastal transect monitoring of Giant land tortoises. The discovery came about when one of the rangers was attracted toward the cavity, which was ringed with a plant species unknown to him that had blossomed with a beautiful yellowish flower. Later it was established that the plant was Melanthera biflora, an indigenous species which is rare on Aldabra.
The cavity was about six meters in depth and barely one meter in width. Due to the size of the Green turtle and the difficulty to retrieve it, the help of additional rangers was required to man a rescue team. After the monitoring transects had been completed, the other rangers were informed of the discovery and armed themselves with a ladder and two pieces of rope. One ranger had to climb down the cavity to tie the front flippers with the ropes. It was no easy task removing the turtle and maneuvering in the cavity but after fifteen minutes of hard work the turtle was freed from its entrapment. Regular tidal movement inside the cavity must have helped it to survive its confinement, as the cavity had no sizeable opening for the turtle to get through and the bottom consisted of algae and was partially obscured.
The rangers had to carry the turtle to the sea and the challenging part was climbing down the highly eroded champignon rock to reach the beach. But the turtle’s ordeal was not yet over, as she was too weak to drag herself over the sand. After watching her for several minutes the rangers took her straight to the sea. As she struggled for freedom within the surf and the current, she surfaced twice and minutes later disappeared into the ocean. The turtle was tagged and measured when she was released from the cavity, so the hope is that she will reappear and come ashore to nest.