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article imageSea turtle found off course in Southern Chile recovering

By Igor I. Solar     Oct 18, 2011 in Environment
Temuco - Under veterinary observation and pharmacological treatment is a sea turtle rescued by fishermen in Puerto Saavedra, a southern coastal area in Chile which is far beyond the normal range of distribution of the species.
About 50 years ago was the last time a green sea turtle was seen in the shores of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is an endangered migratory species of circumglobal distribution regularly found throughout tropical and, to a lesser extent, subtropical waters. This particular sub-species, Chelonia mydas agassizi, is normally found along the eastern Pacific from California to north-central Chile.
The last time a green turtle was seen this far south was in 1960, after the great earthquake-tsunami that affected the southern region of Chile, which has been called "the largest earthquake in the world". Puerto Saavedra was one of the coastal areas most affected by the tsunami.
Dr. Alejandro Hidalgo, professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Santo Tomas in the city of Temuco said to Radio BioBio (in Spanish):"A sea turtle wandering around these shores is mostly accidental; in Chile there are not nesting sites for this species. When they come this far south is because they had become disoriented, injured, exhausted or affected by low water temperatures. These anomalies are often caused by changes in sea currents, the phenomenon of El Niño, or unusual weather conditions”.
The turtle was found by a fisherman from Puerto Saavedra. It has been held in a makeshift seawater tank at the Veterinary Hospital, St. Thomas University. After its recovery, the reptile will be released back to the ocean, possibly at a location farther north.
Beaches in the locality of Puerto Saavedra in southern Chile. In the background can be seen the mout...
Beaches in the locality of Puerto Saavedra in southern Chile. In the background can be seen the mouth of the Cautín River.
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