EUGENE, Ore. — A threatened sea turtle found injured and stranded on an Oregon beach is on its way to its new home.
Pacific green sea turtles typically stay in the ocean or at least on the ground, but Tuesday Koa, the rescued sea turtle found stranded on the Oregon Coast, got to fly.
In mid-June a Newport motel guest discovered Koa lying in the sand in a coma. Staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and U.S. Fish and Wildlife immediately took him in. Biologists say in just two months Koa put on more than 20 pounds and is again swimming well.
Tuesday they loaded him up in a handmade crate to fly in a U.S. Navy airplane from the Eugene airport to his new home in San Diego.
“We’re feeling great. We feel like we’ve done our job and the folks down at Sea World do a fantastic job, and he’s going to the best possible care for eventual release. It’s always a little bittersweet to see one go. Overall, we’re very happy to see him on his way,” said Stuart Clausen of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
This is the third hypothermic sea turtle to get stranded here on the Oregon Coast.
Staff who have nursed him back to health say his name was well thought out. Koa is Hawaiian for strong brave and fearless.
Sea World staff say if all goes as planned, he could be released back into the wild sometime next summer.