The olive ridley sea turtles - nicknamed Thunder and Lightning - have been under the care of the Oregon Coast Aquarium since they were found comatose, hypothermic and malnourished on Oregon beaches in December. (SBG Photo)
NEWPORT, Ore. - Two endangered sea turtles found comatose on the Oregon Coast after winter storms are on their way to southern California to continue their recovery.
The olive ridley sea turtles - nicknamed Thunder and Lightning - have been under the care of the Oregon Coast Aquarium since they were found comatose, hypothermic and malnourished on Oregon beaches in December.
"We at the Oregon Coast Aquarium are very proud to immediately provide expert critical care to these animals," said Jim Burke, the Aquarium's Director of Animal Husbandry. "The early triage and urgent care is so paramount to the stabilization of these imperiled species. We are hopeful for a safe release back into the wild where these two female turtles can reproduce and contribute to the rebound of the olive ridley sea turtle population."
The turtles will complete their rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego in preparation for release later this summer.
"We're very excited that SeaWorld will continue the rehabilitative care of Thunder and Lightning," said Mike Price, SeaWorld San Diego's assistant curator of fish. "It is also great to work with a dedicated team from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and our friends at the Coast Guard as together we give these amazing sea turtles a second chance at life."
"Allowing our aircrews to transport a distressed sea turtle while accomplishing routine training makes this mission particularly satisfying." said Commander Kevin Smith, the pilot in command.
Shocked by the cold water or plagued by injury, the turtles wash up on the beach.
Aquarium staff said the public is key to saving the lives of these endangered animals.
Tim Ebarb located Lightning in Bob Straub State Park. He alerted authorities and stayed with the turtle for 2 hours until help arrived, aquarium staff said.
"The recovery of stranded turtles is always a group effort," said Laura Todd, Newport Field Office Supervisor for the Service. "Reports from the public, emergency transport from the beach, intensive care at the treatment facilities, return to warmer waters, and eventual release are all crucial steps in the process. This work couldn't be done without highly capable partners like the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Coast Guard, and SeaWorld."
Anyone who sees a sea turtle on a Northwest beach should immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it if possible and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.
Written by: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30TH 2016