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Second Sea Turtle Rescued from Oregon Coast Beaches

Published 12/04/2017 at 7:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Second Sea Turtle Rescued from Oregon Coast Beaches

(Seaside, Oregon) – Yet another sea turtle was rescued by the north Oregon coast crew of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the second in about as many weeks. This time, personnel from the Seaside Aquarium snagged a juvenile green sea turtle off a beach along the Columbia River Sunday morning, a distance upstream from the ocean beaches. (Photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

Like the Ridley turtle found in Washington around Thanksgiving, this one was transported to Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium for further rehabilitation and more loving care.

That first Ridley turtle is doing fine at the Newport facility.

Seaside Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said this green sea turtle was small, only weighing about 20 to 25 pounds, but this time had considerable scrapes on its shell from a rough ride somewhere.

“It was pretty beat up,” Chandler said. “We found it a ways up the Columbia River. It had come across the Columbia River bar and obviously had a pretty rough trip, with marks all over its shell. And there was some bleeding. It wasn't found in the normal place we usually find sea turtles, out on the beaches.”

Chandler said even with all the scratches, the shell was intact.

“It was pretty scarred up, but not excessive,” Chandler said. “It was looking pretty good overall. I've seen worse.”

The green sea turtle did not appear to be hypothermic as many turtles are when they're found on the Oregon coast. Instead, Chandler referred to it as cold-shocked. Hypothermic sea turtles normally can't move at all.

“It could move its head and it could move its flippers,” he said. “It was small and really pretty cute.”

Chandler and aquarium educational specialist Tiffany Boothe picked up the turtle about 40 minutes after receiving the call from a park ranger around 7:30 a.m. They applied as much first aid as possible, which in this case means covering it with blankets to warm it up.

Within an hour, it was en route to Newport by car, Chandler said. There it will receive the same kind of rehabilitative care as the first turtle, and eventually be released back into the wild.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium sent out notice in November to start looking for stranded sea turtles.

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“Winter storms and transitioning ocean conditions can push sea turtles northward, sometimes trapping them in cold waters,” the aquarium's Sally Compton said. “As sea turtle body temperature decreases, they lose their ability to swim and feed effectively. The sea turtles then rapidly grow weak and can end up stranding on Pacific Northwest beaches.”

Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are two species protected by the endangered species act, and they are most most commonly stranded here.

Anyone who finds a sea turtle on the beach should immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it if possible, 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. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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More sea turtles found on the Oregon coast below, courtesy Seaside Aquarium





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