'Thank you to Misty for finding the turtle and making the call': Rescue at Horsfall Beach
COOS BAY, Ore. - Beachcombers found a sea turtle washed up on Horsfall Beach on Wednesday.
The took photos and videos before the tide and dangerous high surf washed to turtle back out to sea.
Misty White saw the images posted on Facebook - and a comment linking to the Oregon Coast Aquarium's sea turtle rehabilitation program.
“I didn’t think the sea turtle would make it through another high tide,” White said. “And if the Aquarium could rescue it, then all I had to do was find it.”
According to the Oregon Coast Aquarium:
White gathered her family to search for the missing sea turtle on the beach after dark during low tide.
At 9:52 p.m., the Aquarium received a picture of the turtle via Facebook message: “I found the turtle on the beach and called State Police.”
White helped hand the turtle over to State Trooper Josh Mullins, who kept the turtle at the state police office until Aquarium staff arrived Thursday morning to pick up the endangered olive ridley turtle.
Evonne Mochon-Collura, the Oregon Coast Aquarium Curator of Fish and Invertebrates, reported "extreme injuries sustained by the turtle, with external bleeding and broken scutes on its carapace and plastron, or top and bottom of shell, respectively. Its body temperature measured 46 F, which is about 30 lower than the healthy, standard temperature of a sea turtle."
The turtle is now back at the aquarium, where staff "are currently evaluating the turtle’s condition, administering fluids, taking X-Rays and performing a blood draw."
Whether the turtle will live or die is not yet known.
Had the turtle remained on the beach, however, the answer was more certain.
"Oftentimes in cases of extreme cold-stun and injury, the animal is compromised beyond repair. Cold-blooded reptiles like sea turtles are slow to get sick and slow to recover," according to the Aquarium staff. "While the prognosis is uncertain at this time, if a sea turtle is left in the ocean or on the beach, it will die without question."
“Thank you to Misty for finding the turtle and making the call to Oregon State Police,” Mochon-Collura said. “If there is even a slight chance of rehabilitation, the Oregon Coast Aquarium will give it our best shot.”
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only rehabilitation facility in Oregon authorized to rehabilitate sea turtles and one of two in the Northwest, along with the Seattle Aquarium.
"Sea turtles are not found on Oregon or Washington beaches unless stranded," according to the Aquarium. "The Aquarium typically sees these extremely sick turtles in the winter, possibly due to the cold water temperatures, changing currents, and high frequency of harsh storms that wash the hypothermic turtles ashore."
If you find a sea turtle on the beach:
1. Immediately note its location
2. Remain nearby to observe it, if possible
3. Contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.