Rescue on the Oregon Coast: 'Both turtles are in critical condition'

NEWPORT, Ore. - Two endangered sea turtles found on Oregon beaches Monday are now in the care of rehabilitation specialists 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 a transfer to Newport could be arranged.

The turtles, both females, were taken 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 from 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," said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Aquarium.  "The Green Sea turtle has been responsive while the Olive Ridley has remained unresponsive. 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 50s which is low when compared to a normal temperature which should be in the 70s.”
  
Once a turtle washes ashore it falls under the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s jurisdiction.  The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only certified rehabilitation facility on the Oregon Coast.

A green sea turtle found semicomatose on the Oregon Coast last summer recovered at the Newport aquarium before being driven to the Eugene Airport and flown by Navy plane to San Diego for more therapy

“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.