By Kiera Morgan
An olive ridley sea turtle, named lightning that washed up in a storm outside Pacific City has some company at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Two additional Sea Turtles arrived this week at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation after washing up on the beach in Oregon and Washington. So far this month there have been five Olive Ridley sea turtles that have washed up on the beaches. On Monday beachcombers found one turtle in the area North of Gearhart on the Del Ray beach and the other was found in Long Beach Washington.
They were both taken to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation. Another turtle found on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and did not survive and a turtle found in Cannon Beach this week was taken to the Seattle Aquarium for rehabilitation. According to Kevin Clifford the curator of fish and invertebrates at the aquarium both turtles were very cold and over 20 degrees below their core temperature. They are on IV fluids and aquarium staff are monitoring the turtles closely. “Turtle rehabilitation is slow and meticulous.”
The male had some damage to his head that Aquarium staff where concerned about however recent X-rays found that they were superficial wounds. Clifford said the turtles swim in warm currents and the strong storms we have had this month have knocked the turtles out of their warm water pockets. When they hit the cold water their body slows down. Olive Ridley turtles are a protected species. The Oregon Coast Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium are the only rehabilitation facilities in the Pacific Northwest authorized to provide the specialized care sea turtles require. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service urges anyone who finds a sea turtle on the beach to contact the Oregon State Police Wildlife Hotline at (800) 452-7888 to ensure appropriate transport and care of the animal.