Aquarium To Provide Care for Distressed Sea Turtles

December 19, 2012

Newport, Oregon— The two sea turtles that washed ashore on the Oregon coast Monday December 17th have arrived for care at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The first was found in Seaside and the second washed ashore in Gearhart. Both turtles were taken to the Seaside Aquarium for care until transfer could be arranged. 

The turtles, both females, were transported Monday evening to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which is designated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife (USFWS) to rehabilitate and transport sea turtles, with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat. The two turtles are actually different species. One is a Green Sea Turtle and the other is an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. Both species are on the endangered list and protected under the Endangered Species Act. 

“Both turtles are in critical condition. The Green Sea turtle has been responsive while the Olive Ridley has remained unresponsive,” said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium. “We are warming the air around their bodies to raise the animal’s core temperature and administering fluids. This process will take several days as we can only warm them up around five degrees each day. Currently both animals are in the low 50’s which is low when compared to a normal temperature which should be in the 70’s.” 

Once a turtle washes ashore it falls under the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (USFWS) jurisdiction. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only certified rehabilitation facility on the Oregon coast. “It is our goal of assisting these animals in their rehabilitation process and to ensure we provide the best chance to release them back into the wild,” said Carrie Lewis, CEO at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. 

USFWS Coastal Oregon Field Office urges anyone who finds a sea turtle on the beach to contact the Oregon State Police Wildlife Hotline at 1-800-452-7888 to ensure appropriate transport and care of the animal.