Oregon Coast Crew Assists Live Turtle Found in Washington
Recent Update: the turtle is an Olive Ridley turtle, not a Loggerhead. The turtle is doing well in Newport
(Seaside, Oregon) – Employees from the Seaside Aquarium helped rescue a live turtle that was found in the surf Monday, discovered just north of the Oregon coast on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. Clocking in at about 40 pounds, the Olive Ridely turtle was first recovered by a local resident and then transported to Seaside Aquarium. (Photos by Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium).
The aquarium's Tiffany Boothe said the turtle suffered from hypothermia but appeared to be in good condition.
“After spending the morning at the Seaside Aquarium we were able to get the turtle transferred to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where they will do their best to begin the rehabilitation process,” Boothe said. “If all goes well he will be sent down to California and eventually released.”
What likely happened here is that the creature was following a warm current up the West Coast of the U.S. and was blown off course by recent storms, then caught in the cold waters of this shoreline.
Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said the turtle responded well to rehabilitation efforts rather quickly.
“They're not usually that active,” Chandler said. “He was pretty lively for a turtle with hypothermia. I'm mean not as lively as a squirrel – but for a turtle. We just needed to get him out of the water to get him to start warming him up. Just off the beach - out of the wind.”
Aquarium staff did some initial rehabilitation, including pumping warm fluids into the turtle. A woman from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife took the turtle down to Newport. From there, it's quite possible he will be sent to Sea World in San Diego for further rehabilitation and then released into the wild – the warmer climate of California that Olive Ridelys are used to.
Olive Ridelys are extremely rare finds on the Northwest coast and almost always show up deceased when they land on these beaches. Chandler said they show up maybe every few years, but when they do, often more than one is discovered.
Two Loggerhead sea turtles were found in the north Oregon coast in 2012. In 2009, the Aquarium answered the call to two other even rarer turtles: a green sea turtle and an Olive Ridley turtle. The last Loggerhead the aquarium dealt before that was in 2007.
Below: more photos of sea turtles rescued at Seaside Aquarium courtesy Boothe:
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