SeaWorld San Diego in California has welcomed two new special guests; Thunder and Lightning. The two olive ridley turtles had been badly affected by winter storms on the Oregon coastline back in December and were treated at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Having been given the expert critical care that they needed, the turtles were flown in to SeaWorld San Diego for long-term rehabilitative care.
The turtles were flown on a C-130 Hercules to Naval Base Coronado (Naval Air Station North Island). The SeaWorld Rescue Team picked up the turtles there and brought them to the park’s Animal Rescue centre where they will continue their rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to return them to their ocean home, giving them a second chance at life. The turtles got the nicknames Thunder and Lightning because they were both found comatose after two big winter storms on the Oregon coast in December. Lightning also had severe abrasions to both eyes.
Thunder is two feet long and weighs about 80 pounds. Her primary issue upon stranding was severe hypothermia. Lightning, also two feet long and weighing about 50 pounds, was suffering from hypothermia as well as several other problems, including a buoyancy issue and unknown injuries to both eyes.
Olive ridley turtles are listed as an endangered species. They are found throughout the Pacific Ocean, although they mostly occur in the tropical and subtropical areas. They generally venture no further north than Southern California on the eastern Pacific coast, but they do occur in temperate regions including the relatively cold waters of Oregon and Washington coasts.