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Heading to the coast? Watch for stranded sea turtles

Thunder the turtle being positioned - Credit Oregon Coast Aquarium

If you're headed to the beach this winter in California, Oregon or Washington, you should watch for stranded sea turtles.

They're pushed northward into colder waters, and quickly grow weak, washing up on Northwest beaches. The two most commonly encountered species stranded on Oregon beaches are pacific green sea turtles and olive ridley sea turtles. Most of them likely originate from coastal Mexico.

“Sea turtles do not reach Oregon beaches unless injured or sick, and once stranded, they require immediate specialized care to survive,” said Jim Burke, director of animal husbandry at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. “Last winter, four hypothermic turtles were recovered from Pacific Northwest beaches—a record for the region.”

If you find a stranded sea turtle, you should immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it and call 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.

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