LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A young sea turtle roughed up by chilly, choppy waters off the coast of Washington state is making a strong recovery in Oregon.
"Solstice" was found on the beach near the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula on Dec. 21, the winter solstice. The female olive ridley turtle was dehydrated, and her body temperature was about 15 degrees below the typical 75 degrees.
Olive ridley turtles are typically found in tropical waters from Peru to California.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service transferred the turtle to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. The aquarium is one of the few facilities in the Northwest able to provide the specialized care this animal requires.
At this point, the aquarists caring for Solstice are cautiously hopeful for her recovery.
“Initial blood tests indicated that she had no sign of infection and is stronger than many turtles the Aquarium has received in the past,” said Jim Burke, the Aquarium’s Director of Animal Husbandry.
Erin Paxton of the Oregon Coast Aquarium tells The Daily News of Longview that during storms, warm currents sometimes carry sea turtles into the colder northern latitudes. As the warm water dissipates, the turtles get hypothermic.
Paxton says the aquarium has in the past released sea turtles near San Diego. Federal authorities must approve any release of Solstice.