NEWPORT, Ore., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Oregon Coast Aquarium officials said two sea turtles rescued after washing ashore were flown to San Diego as part of their continued rehabilitation.
Jim Burke, director of animal husbandry at the aquarium in Newport, Ore., said the sea turtles' departure Thursday ended a unique experience for aquarium staff that began nearly two months ago, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.
"These turtles are pretty rare around here," Burke said. "It's been a great learning experience."
While caring for the turtles proved to be an invaluable lesson to aquarium staff, the flight served as a training lesson for the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard C-130.
"It gives pilots practice getting in and out of these small airports," Cmdr. Todd Lightle, assistant operations officer at Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, said of the mission at Newport Municipal Airport. "And anytime we can expose our guys to unique loading exercises, we're increasing our toolbox of expertise."
The Oregonian said the two turtles, who were found in poor shape late last year, will now reside at the turtle rehabilitation center at SeaWorld.