The Oregon Coast Aquarium reminds that if you’re out walking the beach this winter, watch out for stranded sea turtles. Winter storms and transitioning ocean conditions along the Pacific push sea turtles northward into colder waters, where they quickly grow weak and end up stranded on Northwest beaches. If you find a sea turtle on the Oregon coast, immediately note its location and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888.
“Sea turtles that are near our shoreline this time of year have become enveloped by colder water as the warmer summer currents dissipate,” said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry. “This change slows the turtles down, which decreases their ability to migrate south, feed and maintain homeostasis. They then often become victim to the currents and waves, which can bring them crashing onto our beaches.”
The Oregon Coast Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium are the only rehabilitation facilities in the northwest United States authorized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to rehabilitate sea turtles. Pacific green sea turtles and olive ridley sea turtles are two species that most commonly strand in the Pacific Northwest, and both are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The Aquarium invites the public to learn more about their rehab efforts and consider donating to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund to support sea turtle rescue and care.