Couple rescues endangered sea turtle stranded on Washington coast

NEWPORT, Ore. -- An Oregon couple rescued an endangered sea turtle from a Washington state beach over the Thanksgiving weekend.

“I knew there was a major sensitivity to time, so we hurried to contact someone who could help,” said Chad Heidt.

Chad and Mickey Heidt, of Beaverton, spotted the olive ridley sea turtle on a beach at Cape Disappointment State Park.

Oregon Coast Aquarium says she was hypothermic and malnourished when she arrived at the at their aquarium in Newport, Oregon.

Sea turtles prefer warm water but winter currents can push them north to the Oregon coast. They can't swim or eat if they become too cold.


“Today we are especially thankful for the dedication from all parties involved given the short notice on a holiday,” said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. “Our staff will perform x-rays today and continue to monitor the sea turtle’s condition. Although we are always uncertain of the outcome when we receive extremely sick animals, we are hopeful for this turtle’s successful rehabilitation.”

Two of the most common turtles to wind up in trouble along the Oregon coast are Pacific green sea turtles and olive ridley sea turtles.

Both are protected by the Endangered Species Act.

“The successful release of stranded sea turtles, as represented by our two previously rehabilitated olive ridley sea turtles, Lightning and Solstice, supports that the Aquarium’s efforts make a positive difference in conserving threatened and endangered marine species,” said Burke.