Sea Turtle Washes Up on Stinson Beach
Rare olive ridley turtle found "cold stunned" on SeaDrift Beach
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Just before Thanksgiving, on Wednesday afternoon, November 25, a rare and endangered olive ridley sea turtle, normally found along Mexican shores and southward, washed up on SeaDrift Beach in Stinson Beach. It was lethargic and cold-stunned when located and was initially transported to the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands, and then onto SeaWorld in San Diego for further rehabilitation, where it currently remains in guarded condition. The turtle appeared malnourished and had algae, barnacles, crabs and shrimp attached, suggesting it had been floating for some time.
How you can help sea turtles:
- Join STRP's Email List today to hear about the Stinson sea turtle's recovery and simple actions you can take. Just add your email to the right.
- Click here to make a contribution to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project today - your contribution will be used effectively to protect sea turtles from the threats to their future.
- Give a Gift of Sea Turtle Hatchlings through our Adopt a Nest program to help protect nesting olive ridley mothers, their hatchlings and beaches.
- Take our Turtle Safe Seafood Pledge - learn more about the impacts of eating swordfish, tuna, shark and shrimp!
Only two other live olive ridley sightings have been documented in the area, including a sea turtle captured by a salmon fisher 1/2 mile west of Muir Point off the Marin County coast on October 10, 2001 and a turtle on Shell Beach in Tomales Bay, south of the town of Inverness, on November 28, 2002, that appeared healthy, and returned to the water on its own. (The previously mentioned sightings were reported in a scientific note published by Steiner and Walder, see http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/archives/mtn107/mtn107p9.shtml
Click here to learn more about olive ridley sea turtles.
Endangered olive ridley sea turtles face severe threats
throughout their range. There are only a few nesting grounds around
the world where the sea turtles still come ashore in large numbers to
lay their eggs. These gentle ancient sea turtles face:
- poaching for their meat, shells, leather and eggs
- drowning in industrial shrimpnets, gillnets and on longline hooks
- ocean pollution
- loss of nesting beach habitat to development and climate change
change is a triple-whammy for sea turtles due to their unusual life
history traits that include temperature-dependant sex determination,
rising seas that submerge natal nesting beaches, and expected changes
to ocean currents that will impact their long migrations.
Though global warming probably was not responsible for the Stinson
Beach turtle's plight, climate change is likely to lead to more and
more unusual sightings of wildlife, displaced from their normal range.