One of the olive ridley turtles brought to SeaWorld San Diego last month after being found comatose on a beach in Oregon has died, park officials said Wednesday.
The turtles were discovered in December following a pair of big winter storms, and given care at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. They were flown to San Diego by the U.S. Coast Guard on March 30.
Named Thunder and Lightning, the turtles belong to an endangered species usually found in warmer, tropical waters. Thunder was found dead Tuesday morning, according to SeaWorld.
“The passing of any animal is sad for our SeaWorld zoological team,” said Mike Price, the park’s assistant curator of fishes.
“While the rehabilitation of cold-stunned sea turtles is a long and difficult process fraught with complications, we were hopeful that Thunder could have had a second chance at life,” Price said. “We continue to provide rehabilitative care to Lightning.”
Park officials said Lightning was in stable condition.
An examination of Thunder showed degeneration of organs like her heart and liver, and that she was no longer digesting food, but an official report will take weeks to complete, according to SeaWorld.
When Thunder was received by SeaWorld, park officials said her primary medical issue was severe hypothermia.
Lightning also suffered from hypothermia, as well as other problems, including a buoyancy issue and injuries to both eyes.
Olive ridley turtles generally venture no further north than Southern California on the eastern Pacific coast but do sometimes wander into the relatively cold waters of Oregon and Washington state, according to SeaWorld.
—City News Service
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