Despite Rehabilitation Efforts, Stranded Sea Turtles Pass Away

December 21, 2012

Newport, Oregon— The attempt to revive and stabilize the two sea turtles that were found on the Oregon coast on Monday December 17th came to a sad conclusion Thursday with both animals passing away. 

The Olive Ridley turtle never recovered from cold shock and was unresponsive from the moment it arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium with very little to no detectable signs of life. Veterinarians pronounced the animal dead late Wednesday night. 

The Green Sea Turtle was extremely dehydrated and in cold shock but was responsive. It also had numerous shell and skull wounds. “We had a lot of hope that the Green Sea Turtle could pull through,” said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium. “However, as we were able to warm the animal up it became apparent the wounds were much more serious. We maintained a 24-hour watch and attempted to stabilize the animal but eventually the turtle died early Thursday morning.” 

The next step for staff will be performing a full necropsy in the near future on both animals to determine the cause of death. “We will be looking for plastic in the gastrointestinal tract which may be a result of ingesting of marine debris. Other tests will look for signs of pneumonia due to extending periods of hypothermia caused by exposure to cold water and damage from the intense storm and pounding ocean,” added Burke. 

The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s animal care staff continues to work with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and NOAA to best prepare for the next animal that needs assistance. The agencies urge 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. 

“It is unfortunate these animals didn’t make it. Rehabilitation of a wild animal is a challenging process and I am pleased we could give these turtles the best chance possible for survival,” said Carrie Lewis, CEO at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. 

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is committed to responding to calls about stranded wildlife and assisting in their rehabilitation. Donations can be made that support the Aquarium’s Urgent Care and Rehabilitation Program. To donate, please call 541-867-FISH (3474) or send an email to donations@aquarium.org.

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