Sea turtles washed ashore during storm

2012-12-19T11:00:00Z Sea turtles washed ashore during stormThe World Coos Bay World
December 19, 2012 11:00 am  • 

NEWPORT -- Two sea turtles that washed up on the Oregon Coast on Monday are in critical condition at the Oregon Coast Aquarium today.

Aquarium staffers will be slowly warming the turtles — both have hypothermia -- over the coming days, said Jim Burke, the aquarium's director of animal husbandry. As of Tuesday, both turtles' body temperatures were in the low 50s. They should be in the 70s.

It's unclear what caused the turtles' ailments or whether they will survive.

The turtles — both female — are different species and washed ashore separately. The first was found in Seaside, the second in Gearhart.

'The Green Sea turtle has been responsive, while the Olive Ridley has remained unresponsive," Burke said.

Two sea turtles a year washing ashore in Oregon is remarkable, aquarium staffers said. So, two in one day is startling.

Turtles that wash ashore become the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only certified rehabilitation center for them on the Oregon Coast.

'It is our goal of assisting these animals in their rehabilitation process to ensure we provide the best chance to release them back into the wild," said Carrie Lewis, the aquarium's chief executive officer.

Both turtles were held temporarily at the Seaside Aquarium on Monday until transport could be arranged.

The USFWS urges anyone who finds a beached sea turtle to call the Oregon State Police Wildlife Hotline at 1-800-452-7888.

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