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Gulf oil spill: First sea turtle rescued from slick

May 19, 2010 |  3:19 pm

Officials say the first sea turtle to be rescued from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is being washed and cared for in New Orleans.

Audubon Aquarium spokeswoman Meghan Calhoun says the endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle was found by a biologist in a boat looking for oiled animals in the slick about 35 miles from shore. The turtle, which probably is less than a year old, arrived in New Orleans Tuesday night. Its shell is a bit less than 7 inches long and about 6 1/2  inches across.

Calhoun says the turtle has been bathed from the inside of its mouth to the tips of its flippers and stubby tail. It will get several baths over the next several days.

More than 150 dead sea turtles--most of them young Kemp's Ridley turtles--have washed ashore since a blown well began gushing on the sea floor late April 20. This is four times higher than the five-year average, scientists said.

--Associated Press and Times staff reports

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