Wildlife Rehabilitation

The Oregon Coast Aquarium plays an active role in conservation and wildlife rehabilitation efforts. The Aquarium is one of three wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the Pacific Northwest, and the only one in Oregon, authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide specialized care to endangered marine life.


The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only rehabilitation facility in Oregon authorized to rehabilitate endangered marine animals like sea turtles. Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are two species that most commonly strand in the Pacific Northwest, and both are protected by the endangered species act. Partnership with other organizations and civilian awareness of sea turtle endangerment are essential to the successful rescue, rehabilitation and release of these endangered species.

The Aquarium’s past successful rehabilitation and releases of stranded endangered sea turtles serve as evidence for the positive impacts of sea turtle rescue. The return of reproductively viable sea turtles back into wild endangered breeding populations can be critical for species recovery.

A hypothermic female olive ridley sea turtle stranded on a remote southern Washington beach. An endangered Western snowy plover chick abandoned in its nest, covered in sand and not even fully hatched. A northern fur seal pup entangled by a plastic balloon string in a RV parking lot.

These are just three examples of injured wildlife that arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for care. The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program rescues and rehabilitates threatened and endangered animals as well as indigenous wildlife deemed injured by human interference. Our goal is to mitigate human impact on wildlife in order to contribute to species conservation and prevent animal suffering.


One of the wildlife cases that the Aquarium sees the most often is entanglement by fishing line. In a recent case, the Aquarium admitted a juvenile brown pelican that was found entangled and snared by a fishing hook. Luckily, the pelican made a full recovery and staff successfully released the bird at Fort Stevens State Park.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s pelican presentation highlights the importance of properly disposing of fishing line and hooks for cases just like these. Education is our most important tool for preventing fatal human-wildlife interactions and preserving the beautiful Oregon coast.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium relies on visitor-related revenues, grants, and donations to finance its annual operations, including its wildlife rehabilitation activities.

Currently, the Aquarium utilizes aging warehouse facilities to diagnose and treat marine life and contracts with veterinarians. Facility limitations make it difficult to quarantine injured or ill animals to safeguard the Aquarium’s current marine population against disease and minimize the impact of human contact. Moving a wild animal imposes further stress, and anesthetizing them puts it at undue health risk.


To accommodate increased marine life rescue, improve conditions for rehabilitation, and create an opportunity for learning, the Aquarium plans to build a state-of-the-art Marine Rehabilitation Center for animal husbandry and veterinary staff to provide critical care to injured or stranded marine animals as well as our own collection. The facility will include indoor and outdoor enclosures, clinical facilities for veterinary diagnostics, observation and treatment. It will also serve as a teaching facility, enabling age-appropriate visitors a clinical view of this vital work in species survival.

Your donation to our Marine Rehabilitation Center gives stranded, abandoned and injured wildlife a second chance at life and supports our ability to provide the best quality care for our resident animals.

Here are some of the Aquarium's latest animal rehabilitation efforts:

Sea Otter Observation Leads to Seal Rescue Operation

February 16, 2023

Date: Saturday, January 7 Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA state Weather: high winds, heavy rain What began as a sea otter observation excursion turned into a seal rescue operation after Brittany Blades, OCAq’s Curator of Marine Mammals, heard distressed cries nearby. Blades peered through the fog […]

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Tides Turn for Two Stranded Sea Turtles

November 4, 2022

Newport, Oregon — Two sea turtles are on the road to recovery and release after receiving care at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCAq). Thanks to the collaborative efforts of OCAq, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), […]

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Grounded Marbled Murrelet Chick Takes Flight

October 17, 2022

Newport, Oregon — A grounded marbled murrelet chick has taken wing thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCAq), Oregon State University’s Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project (OMMP), and the Wildlife Center of the North Coast (WCNC). The marbled murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus, has faced […]

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2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd
Newport, OR 97365


The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Newport, on the beautiful Oregon Coast. The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.