Oregon Coast Aquarium – The distressed olive ridley sea turtle that was discovered hypothermic and dehydrated on an Oregon coast beach Monday died of internal injuries early Wednesday morning.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium staff that was caring for the female turtle said she declined into an unresponsive state around 1:00am and never came out of it.
Veterinary examination indicated “Furlough,” as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff called her, sustained internal injuries while tumbling through surf after becoming too hypothermic to swim. The huge waves that lashed the Oregon Coast over the weekend were simply too much for it. Biologists say it’s common for these tropical reptiles to ride warm water currents pushed northward by strong southerly winds as we had this last weekend. The turtle then drifts into colder water near the Oregon shore where it is quickly overcome by hypothermia, becomes lethargic and loses its ability to swim. In addition, biologists speculate that this turtle was pounded by huge waves as it drifted closer to shore.
Olive ridley turtles are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and are typically found in tropical waters around the globe. The species is highly migratory, breeding and nesting in coastal areas and foraging as far as 2400 miles from shore.
USFWS Coastal Oregon Field Office 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.