An endangered olive ridley sea turtle found stranded on a beach has been transported to SeaWorld San Diego to receive long-term rehabilitative care. Since her rescue nearly a month ago, Donatello the sea turtle has received expert critical care from The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The move to San Diego means she will continue her rehabilitation at SeaWorld’s Animal Health and Rescue Center with the ultimate goal of returning to the ocean, giving her a second chance at life.
Donatello weighs approximately 25kg and is estimated to be in her late teens to early 20s. She was found stranded on 19 October 2019 on a beach near Eureka, California. When rescued, she was cold stunned and lethargic. Transported to The Marine Mammal Center, her condition was initially stabilised before being moved the Monterey Bay Aquarium on 29 October.
Over the past month, Donatello started a gradual recovery and is now ready to begin her next phase of rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego.
SeaWorld is the only facility capable of providing long-term rehabilitative care for sea turtles on the West Coast. It is hoped that she can be returned to the ocean in late summer or early autumn 2020 when the ocean temperature off the Southern California coast is stable around 70 degrees.
Olive ridley turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. 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 occasionally occur in temperate regions including the relatively cold waters of Oregon and Washington coasts.