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Rescued Sea Turtle, Famed Otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium Die This Week

Published 12/10/2017 at 5:35 PM PDT - Updated 12/10/2017 at 5:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rescued Sea Turtle, Famed Otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium Pass Away

(Newport, Oregon) – Rescuing and caring for animals of any kind is never easy and ends in heartbreak down the line, but hopefully farther in the future rather than sooner. Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is dealing with that this week as a longtime fixture and attraction dies as does one of the sea turtles it helped rescue recently. Above: photo of Judge the sea otter courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium).

It only took a day but the young green sea turtle that was rescued by Seaside Aquarium on December 3 died later the following evening. The turtle had made it to Oregon Coast Aquarium shortly after its discovery on that Sunday morning, but chances are never that good for hypothermic sea turtles found on these beaches. (See Second Sea Turtle Rescued from Oregon Coast Beaches).

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Once the green sea turtle arrived at the Newport facility, husbandry staff administered fluids, obtained blood samples, and conducted a physical assessment. The animal received X-rays the following morning. Staff said the sea turtle appeared responsive and passed waste, but a high white blood cell count warned that the turtle was likely fighting a significant infection.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium performed a necropsy on the animal to further ascertain the cause of death. Staff found no foreign material in the stomach or intestine, but samples will be evaluated for biotoxin exposure as well.

Meanwhile, the Olive Ridley turtle that was rescued by Seaside Aquarium on Thanksgiving is still doing okay. That turtle, named Turkey, continues to undergo treatment.

The saddest news for the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the passing of its much-loved sea otter, Judge. The oldest otter at the aquarium, he was a standout performer there since December 2003. He was originally rescued from Pacific Grove, California, some time before that, where he was found stranded. Just a small pup, Judge was taken to Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) for care and rehabilitation and was released soon afterward - but that was far from the last time MBA staff would lay eyes on him.

He was released after being involved in a special program that helped teach orphaned otter pups to take care of themselves by being introduced to mother sea. Not long after that, Judge was spotted in Monterey Bay interacting with humans in search of food. After seven more failed releases, wildlife professionals deemed the human-friendly sea otter non-releasable.

Judge now has an enduring legacy as the charismatic sea otter who loved human interaction, whether that be playing hide-and-seek with visitors or floating by the glass windows of his exhibit to people watch. It was this friendly demeanor along with his strikingly well-kept fur coat - Judge was a meticulous groomer - that cemented Judge as the fluffy face of the Aquarium’s 2013 ad-campaign. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

If you find a sea turtle on the beach, immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it, and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.

More photos of these animals below:

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Green sea turtle photos below courtesy Seaside Aquarium:


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