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Sea Turtle Rescued at Manzanita Dies, Says Oregon Coast Aquarium

Published 1/09/24 at 6:05 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sea Turtle Rescued at Manzanita Dies, Says Oregon Coast Aquarium

(Newport, Oregon) – The green sea turtle rescued in Manzanita over the weekend did not make it, the Oregon Coast Aquarium said. (Photo Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium)

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On Saturday, Seaside Aquarium responded to Manzanita Beach on the north Oregon coast, getting word of a stranded sea turtle. Staff made it down to the beach quickly and found the Pacific green sea turtle quite “lively,” which bodes well for the rehabilitation of these cold-stunned creatures.

Later that day the female turtle was transferred to Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium for further triage and care, with the hopes of sending it to California for eventual release back into the wild.

However, the aquarium's Courtney Klug Tuesday reports the sea turtle died.

“The sea turtle succumbed to its injuries after two days of round-the-clock care,” Klug said. “Sea turtles often sustain damage before washing ashore; while staff could confirm the turtle was lethargic and dehydrated, a necropsy will be conducted to gain insight on its internal condition.”

Courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium

Staff nicknamed her “Squirt” because of her diminutive size, clearly bonding with the little girl fairly quickly.

“No matter the stature of the animal, every individual makes a difference to an endangered species,” Klug said.

Cold-stunned sea turtles on the northwest coastline often appear dead, but they have a way of slowing their metabolism down so far it's difficult to tell. Even in those grave conditions, some sea turtles survive this.

However, that's still just a small percentage.

Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium said this weekend she had hope for this one considering its more lively-than-usual state, but in the end it found its way into the category of usual statistics.

Photo Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium

“A turtle suffering from extreme hypothermia can be unresponsive to touch and have a heartbeat so slow and weak that it is difficult to detect,” Boothe said. “Most sea turtles found on Oregon and Washington shores do not survive, even if found and recovered quickly. Those that do live are taken to one of two licensed rehab facilities on the Northwest Coast; the Oregon Coast Aquarium or the Seattle Aquarium.”

Klug said if you find a sea turtle on the beach, do not attempt to move or help – for both your safety and the turtle's.

Photo Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium

“A sea turtle placed back into the water can only wash ashore again, increasing its risk of injury and delaying potential rescue efforts,” Klug said.

Instead, remain nearby to observe it, and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network (MMSN) in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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