Oct 22, 2020

Saving Berni Stranders the Sea Turtle with a Piper Malibu

When a group of kind-hearted people rescued Berni, an olive ridley sea turtle, from the cold waters at Port Alberni near Vancouver, Canada, they set in motion a logistical challenge that ended with the turtle’s release into the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean on September 8.

Berni spent more than 10 months at the Ocean Wise Conservation Association/Vancouver Aquarium after his rescue. And what led to his rescue was that he was way off course and somehow took a wrong turn and ended up in Port Alberni, hence his name. Berni is only the fourth olive ridley sea turtle to be recorded in the waters of British Columbia and the second treated at the Vancouver Aquarium.

What happened to Berni is that he got cold-stunned. According to the aquarium, “when the water temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, cold-stunned sea turtles experience a decrease in heart rate and circulation, causing them to become lethargic to the point where they are unable to swim or forage.”

Because he was so far from the warmer waters where he could thrive, Berni needed a ride, and this is where Turtles Fly Too comes in. The charitable organization arranges for pilots with extra space in their airplanes to transport cold-stunned turtles to aquariums in warmer climes, where they can be rehabilitated and released.

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