It's a new start for "Coral," a rescued olive ridley sea turtle that's been rehabilitating at the Seattle Aquarium the past three months.
Coral was founded on an Oregon beach last October. She was emaciated, weak, and suffering from hypothermia. She was rushed to the Seattle Aquarium, where staff spent the last few months nursing her back to health.
She arrived in San Diego on Friday for the next phase of her rehab at SeaWorld. It's the only place on the West Coast that can provide long-term rehab care for sea turtles.
They hope she can go back into the ocean late this summer or early fall. Coral is a young but mature female. That's why returning her to the wild is so important. It will give her a chance to reproduce and help her own species recover.
Coral's arrival at the Seattle Aquarium marked the beginning of what's often called "stranding season." As ocean temperatures get colder, turtles can get disoriented and hypothermic.
If you come across a sea turtle, experts say it's important not to touch them or get too close. Take a picture and call local authorities. In Oregon, the Oregon State Police Wildlife Division can be reached at 1-800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-866-767-6114. In Washington, call the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-866-767-6114.
You can also visit the USFWS Pacific Region sea turtles Q&A page.