Beachcombers Warned To Look Out For Turtles

Dec 27, 2016

If you're wandering the beaches this winter, there's something else to watch for besides incoming tides: sea turtles.

Stranded turtle in Siuslaw-Florence area, likely perished. August 2014.
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Winter storms can push these creatures into colder waters, tiring them out, making them sick, and leaving them stranded on the shoreline.

Laura Todd is with the Newport Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  She says if someone comes across a washed-up sea turtle...

An Oregon Coast Aquarium staffer positions Solstice the Turtle so she can receive fluids.
Credit Oregon Coast Aquarium.

"They shouldn't touch it, they shouldn't move it," advised Todd.  

"If you move them and warm them too quickly, it can actually cause more damage than help.  So really the thing to do is get them to a facility that knows how to handle turtles as quickly as possible.

"Here on the Oregon Coast, that's the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  And they're the ones that are our authorized agency for dealing with the turtles, and they really are pretty good at being able to do that properly."

Koa the Turtle is released with a GPS transmitter to track his movements, October 2012.
Credit SeaWorld San Diego

Pacific Green and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are the most common species found stranded in Oregon.  Both are endangered.

The Oregon State Police tip line for stranded turtles is 800-452-7888.