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Oregon Coast Critter Encounters: Sea Lion Wanders Astoria, Found Turtle Dies

Published 01/29/2018 at 5:25 PM PDT - Updated 01/30/2018 at 2:36 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Animal Encounters: Sea Lion Wanders Astoria, Turtle Found

(Seaside, Oregon) – UPDATED: TURTLE HAS DIED - Crews from Seaside Aquarium and the Oregon Coast Aquarium had their fair share of animal adventures over the weekend, with a rogue sea lion comically roving the streets of Astoria and another cold-stunned sea turtle found – which later died. (Photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

Saturday was the first encounter, with Seaside Aquarium (part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network) getting a call about a stranded turtle at Sunset Beach, between Fort Stevens State Park and Gearhart. The 35-pound female Olive Ridley turtle passed away early this morning while in rehabilitation at Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

A friend of aquarium manager Keith Chandler discovered the turtle and called about 11:50 a.m.

Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe was among those responding. She said the turtle was one of the most active they've ever had, so they had high hopes initially.

“He stayed with the turtle, which was really helpful because it's hard to find them sometimes,” Boothe said. “He had a blanket, put the blanket over the turtle, kept it out of the weather 'till we could get there.”

The turtle had an injured flipper and quite a few red abrasions on its underside, probably from being on the sand awhile and knocked around during recent storm events.

“There's been some really bad surf lately, and he was out in that,” Boothe said. “He didn't just come up, he'd probably been out there for two weeks. He'd already endured a lot.”


Boothe said they met Oregon Coast Aquarium staff in the town of Beaver within two hours, thus the turtle made it there faster than most.

Once in Newport, specialist Evonne Mochon-Collura took its body temperature, administered fluids, and cleaned the wound.

“The turtle appeared extremely emaciated, dehydrated, and had sunken eyes,” Mochon-Collura said. “There was a dime-sized hole in the front left flipper that contained necrotic tissue inside, so it must have been an older injury.”

Oregon State University will conduct a necropsy.

On the more comical side, a sea lion went exploring the streets of Astoria Sunday and made a huge splash on social media.

Boothe was in Astoria and only two blocks away when she got the call from Oregon State Police that the critter was well up 8th Ave.

“He was super cooperative and we were able to walk side by side a couple blocks until we were able to find a good place for him to enter the river,” Boothe said. “He took cues quickly. He did it all on his own, without barricades.”

Why did the young sea lion go wandering? Boothe said they simply do that sometimes. Sea lions will haul out on all kinds of available areas. But he didn't necessarily like what he found.

“When people started getting around, he knew he was in an area he didn't want to be in,” Boothe said. “Sea lions can be pretty aggressive, but they can also be pretty docile. It's never recommended you get near a live sea lion because they can get moving really fast.” Oregon Coast Hotels in these areas - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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