Lost turtles found on beaches in North West England

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 23 December 2014

‘Lost’ turtles found on beaches in North West England Pair are thousands of miles from traditional feeding grounds Two turtles have been washed ashore in the North West of England, thousands of miles from their usual feeding grounds in the Caribbean.

‘Lost’ turtles found on beaches in North West England Pair are thousands of miles from traditional feeding grounds Two turtles have been washed ashore in the North West of England, thousands of miles from their usual feeding grounds in the Caribbean. The first turtle was found on Formby beach by Rob Archer, of Ramsbottom, who was walking along the Sefton Coast. Rob guessed it was either a hawksbill or a Kemp’s ridley turtle, which live in much warmer waters! The second turtle was found on Walney Island in Cumbria, a day later, and is thought to be a Kemp’s ridley turtle. Rob said he found the turtle quite high up the beach at Formby and decided to put it back into the water. He said: “I have since heard I shouldn’t have done that and I do feel bad about it. However, it seems the same turtle was found on the beach later in the day, and that is now being cared for by the RSPCA. Ø MCS turtle expert and Biodiversity Programme Manager, Dr Peter Richardson, says “Our advice is never to put live stranded turtles in the UK back in the sea, as they will almost certainly die. It’s great news that the turtle Rob found seems to have survived.” The turtle discovered at Walney is also in safe hands and will be released back into the wild in warmer seas. Kemp’s ridley turtles have previously been found in Weymouth and in South Wales during December. North West Wildlife Trusts’ Marine Conservation Officer Emily Baxter said: “It’s rare for turtles to be washed ashore in the North West, but there have been strong westerly winds over December and that might explain why they are away from their usual feeding areas. Fortunately it appears that both turtles are now in safe hands. Ø The Kemp’s ridleys were close to extinction in the 1980s because of hunting and egg collection on Mexican nesting beaches. Strict protection on the beaches and the use of special Turtle Excluder Devices in Gulf of Mexico shrimp nets have both contributed to the recovery of the species. There was another unusual marine find in Christmas week - a seal was found 20 miles inland in Newton-le-Willows. It has since been recovered and is being cared for before being released back into the estuary. If anyone finds a live turtle they should inform the contacts listed on the UK Turtle Code. Read more about Marine Turtles and the work MCS does to protect them

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