Rescued olive ridley sea turtle transported to SeaWorld San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A rescued, endangered olive ridley sea turtle was flown into San Diego Friday afternoon after it was found stranded on an Oregon beach last October.

Coral was transported to San Diego by the U.S. Coast Guard and she’ll be receiving long-term rehabilitative care at SeaWorld. Since her rescue more than three months ago, Coral has been provided expert critical care by the Seattle Aquarium.

The mature female sea turtle was flown on a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to Naval Base Coronado (Naval Air Station North Island) where she was received by the SeaWorld Rescue Team and taken to the park’s Animal Health and Rescue Center where she will continue her rehabilitation.

Coral weighs about 75 pounds and is estimated to be between 18 and 25 years old. She was found stranded Oct. 20, 2017 by a member of the public on a beach near Salishan on the Oregon coast.

When rescued, she was emaciated, weak and suffering from hypothermia. She was transported to the Seattle Aquarium, Washington state’s only sea turtle rehabilitation facility, arriving in critical condition.  The Aquarium’s zoological staff immediately began lifesaving medical treatment including addressing serious bacterial infections.

Over the past three months, Coral has been gradually recovering and is ready to begin her next phase of rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego.  It is hoped that she can be returned to the ocean in late summer or early fall when the ocean temperature off the Southern California coast is stable around 70 degrees. Olive ridley turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. They are found throughout the Pacific Ocean, although they mostly occur in the tropical and subtropical areas.

They generally venture no further north than Southern California on the eastern Pacific coast, but they do occasionally occur in temperate regions including the relatively cold waters of Oregon and Washington coasts.

Categories: Local San Diego News