A stranded loggerhead turtle was found in distress on an Oregon coastal beach due to cold ocean waters. The cold sea temperatures had caused the cold blooded reptile to enter a torpor state. Rescuers were able to save the stunned reptile from the beach after finding its body temperature was only 50 degrees. This was 25 degrees lower than the normal body temp of 75 meaning the turtle was in severe danger.
Using a combination of water baths and fleece-lined blankets rescuers were able to slowly raise the turtle’s body temperature. This process took several days as they could only safely raise the temperature by 5 degrees per day. If this process were to be rushed the turtle could have gone into a deadly shock state.
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Initially the Oregon Coast Aquarium took charge of the turtle’s care and recovery with the intent of re-releasing the reptile as they have done with other rescues. Instead, with the help of a charity by the name of Turtles Fly Too, the turtle was transported to SeaWorld in San Diego to complete its recovery.
At SeaWorld the loggerhead will undergo special care and treatments in preparation for release into much warmer waters. The species’ status as a critically endangered species means that it is vital to try and return it to its natural habitat.
Since 2017 SeaWorld has helped rescue 2210 turtles including other sea turtle species as well as fresh water turtles and tortoises. Cold weather is a common threat faced by these reptiles but fishing nets and motor boat strikes have caused danger as well.
This was not the first time SeaWorld has saved sea turtles from cold water. In 2010 some 300 turtles were pulled from coastal waters and taken to the Orlando SeaWorld Rehab Center. Of the 300 rescued, SeaWorld managed to safely re-release 250 turtles.