A turtle that is much more comfortable in tropical waters washed up in Port Alberni on central Vancouver Island with what experts say was a dangerously low body temperature.
Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian Martin Haulena says the adult male olive ridley sea turtle appeared "cold-stunned" when it was found Monday with a temperature of 11 degrees Celsius, a drop from the normal 20 degrees.
Sea turtles are cold-blooded and depend on their environment to control body temperatures so when the water gets too cold, the turtles become hypothermic, also know as cold-stunning.
Haulena says the turtle may have come north with what's known as "the blob," a warm area of water in the Pacific Ocean, or it may have hitchhiked on a warm current into the B.C. waters.
The turtle, named Berni after the location it was found, will be recuperating at the Vancouver Aquarium where staff will gradually raise his body temperature and treat him for dehydration and possible pneumonia.
Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at the aquarium, says Berni has a long road to recovery and once he's stable they'll work with Canadian and U.S. authorities for permits to get him back to his home waters.