Aquarium treating sick sea turtle found on Oregon coast - KPTV - FOX 12

Aquarium treating sick sea turtle found on Oregon coast

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Photo: The Oregon Coast Aquarium Photo: The Oregon Coast Aquarium
Photo: The Oregon Coast Aquarium Photo: The Oregon Coast Aquarium

A sick sea turtle washed onto an Oregon coast beach Monday.

The female olive ridley turtle was found in Lincoln City. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service workers transported the turtle to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for treatment.

The aquarium is licensed by the Fish & Wildlife Service to rehabilitate and transport sea turtles, with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.

The prognosis for this turtle, however, is poor, according to aquarium staff.

The turtle, which has been given the nickname "Furlough," was hypothermic, dehydrated, anemic and battered by the surf. Its body temperature was 59 degrees, when it should be in the 70s.

The Aquarium's staff immediately administered fluids to the 33-pound turtle and worked through the night to warm the air around it to slowly raise the turtle's core body temperature. It's a process that takes several days, because the turtle can only be warmed up by five degrees each day to prevent shock.

Workers wrapped the turtle with a coat of water-based lubricant and towels to help lock in moisture and prevent further dehydration and loss of warmth.

"We are treating her with a turtle's version of bed rest," said Evonne Mochon-Collura, a senior aquarist at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. "She is here to hang out, relax and pack on calories."

While Furlough is in rough shape, aquarium workers said the turtle's scarred and chipped shell indicates it's not the first time it has overcome health issues.

Once the turtle's body temperature is warm enough to be in water, veterinarians will be able to better assess her overall body condition and health.

Olive ridley turtles are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and are typically found in tropical waters. They are highly migratory, breeding and nesting in coastal areas and foraging as far as 2,400 miles from shore.

The 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.

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