Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Turkey the Rescued Turtle Passes Away at Oregon Coast Aquarium

Published 01/12/2018 at 4:30 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Turkey the Rescued Turtle Passes Away at Oregon Coast Aquarium

(Newport, Oregon) – Famed Turkey the Turtle, which was rescued from a Washington beach by Seaside Aquarium staff on Thanksgiving, died Monday in the midst of rehabilitation efforts by the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. (Photo above: Turkey, just after rescue - courtesy Seaside Aquarium).

The extremely hypothermic and dehydrated female olive ridley sea turtle arrived at the Aquarium for rehabilitation on Thanksgiving. A couple found her stranded on Benson Beach in Cape Disappointment State Park a day earlier and promptly notified the Marine Mammal Stranding Network (MMSN). Crews from Seaside Aquarium took her off the beach, gave her some emergency care, and then she was transferred to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which is the only facility in Oregon authorized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to provide the specialized care sea turtles require.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings not found anywhere else
In Cannon Beach:
Winter rates, free night offers
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Special prices for spring, free night offers
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
How to get a free night - stormwatch deals
In Lincoln City:
Exclusive listings; spring specials
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
A lot of stunning oceanfront whale watching
In Newport:
Special offers, free nights - stormwatch, spring deals
In Waldport
Low spring rates - stormwatch deals
In Yachats, Florence
Great spring deals; find lodgings not listed anywhere else

Named Turkey because she was found on Thanksgiving, aquarium staff said her condition remained guarded since her arrival. In that month and a half period, staff worked around the clock to monitor her condition, administer fluids, and slowly raise her internal temperature. Oregon Coast Aquarium's Medical Aquarist, Tana Wellner, offered the turtle a variety of dietary options in the hopes she would begin taking in solid foods. Occasionally, Turkey would eat small shrimp, but her consumption was inconsistent and caused staff to remain cautious.

Over the last month and a half, staff worked tirelessly around the clock to monitor her condition, administer fluids, and slowly raise her internal temperature. Oregon Coast Aquarium Medical Aquarist, Tana Wellner, offered Turkey a variety of diet options up to three times per day over the course of the last few weeks in the hopes that she would eat solid food. Although Turkey would sometimes consume a small shrimp, her eating was inconsistent and this kept staff cautious.

The Olive Ridley turtle's condition kept deteriorating over recent weeks, according to Wellner, and last week she stopped accepting food altogether, even becoming increasingly lethargic. Aquarium staff consistently tracked Turkey's blood values and administered antibiotics during her stay at the Newport facility, yet her immune system remained compromised. X-rays of her lungs indicated that a mass had recently developed in her lungs, which suggested that she was fighting off an infection such as pneumonia.

A necropsy performed by Oregon State University confirmed that Turkey had a systemic bacterial infection as a result of a heavily suppressed immune system. Multiple organizations, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA will utilize the necropsy results for future research on sea turtles.

More often than not, turtle rehabilitation cases do not end well after they've been picked up from a beach stranding. Cold-stunned turtles will have a wide range of health issues, many of which can remain hidden for some time.

“Turtle processes are slow,” said Oregon Coast Aquarium Director of Animal Husbandry, Jim Burke. “The animals are slow to get sick and slow to recover. Turkey arrived in such bad shape that a mammal in the same condition would have died a long time ago.”

In fact, another turtle rescued from the beaches by Seaside Aquarium around the same time died within a few days after being transported to Newport.

Sea turtles are not found on Oregon or Washington beaches unless stranded. The Aquarium typically sees these extremely sick turtles in the winter, possibly due to the cold water temperatures, changing currents, and high frequency of harsh storms that wash the hypothermic turtles ashore. If you find a sea turtle on the beach, immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it, and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.

The Aquarium is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information visit aquarium.org or call (541) 867-3474. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours. More of Turkey the Olive Ridley turtle below, courtesy Seaside Aquarium:

Oregon Coast Lodging




More turtle rescues below, courtesy Seaside Aquarium





More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Oregon Coast Whale License Plate Appears to be a Go
The initiative reached its goal of selling 3,000 vouchers for the plate. Sciences
Meteor Showers Look Good for Oregon Coast, Portland, Valley
The meteor showers peak on April 22 but they're still around until April 25. Sciences
Oregon Coast Safety: Helpful Tricks to Spotting Sneaker Waves
Strangely, there is a little trick to spotting them. Weather
Oregon Coast Scenery That Makes a Scene: Manzanita's Overlooks; Video
They're called the Neahkahnie Overlooks and it's a non-stop supply of oceanic eye candy. Travel tips
N. Oregon Coast Concerts Include America's Got Talent Singer
Cannon Beach History Center and Museum pull together two gigs of an interesting nature
Famous Oregon Native Returns to Coast for Comedy Festival
First annual Undertow Comedy Festival, held in Lincoln City from April 26 to 28. Lincoln City events
Curious Near Cannon Beach: What Causes This Odd Wave Action on N. Oregon Coast?
Just south of Cannon Beach, at Silver Point, there may be a sea monster. Science, geology, Manzanita, Silver Point
N. Oregon Coast History Events Bring Startling Facts to Light and Life
Two particularly engaging history talks are coming up on the north Oregon coast which are guaranteed to be riveting. Cannon Beach events, Seaside, Manzanita events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details