JUNO BEACH, Fla. - The Loggerhead Marinelife Center said the first-ever occurrence of an olive ridley sea turtle stranding in Palm Beach County occurred on Christmas Day.
The center said this species of sea turtle has never been reported to strand this far north, and is only the fourth reported olive ridley stranding ever in the state of Florida.
Previous strandings of this species have occurred further south near Miami and the Florida Keys.
"Meghan", as she has since been named, was found underweight at the beach in Lantana with a fishing line entanglement injury on her front left flipper.
The center is conducting tests to determine proper treatment for the 65-pound turtle.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, a stranded sea turtle is defined as "any ocean turtle found dead, injured, sick, tumored, or otherwise abnormal and sometimes even normal in appearance and out of the water, usually along the shoreline. The turtle may also be in very shallow water close to shore."
More Details About Olive Ridley Turtles
Although found worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate ocean waters, olive ridleys are mostly found in the western North Atlantic, limited mostly to the northern coast of South America and adjacent waters.
Solitary and preferring the open ocean, they migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles every year, and come together as a group to nest in arribadas, when females return to the beaches where they hatched and come onshore, sometimes in the thousands, to nest.