Two of the rarest marine turtle species found on a Vale of Glamorgan beach

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 6 January 2012

Two of the rarest marine turtle species found on a Vale of Glamorgan beach Dead turtles found just yards from each other The warm water Kemp’s ridley turtles were reported to MCS after we urged walkers to report sightings of dead or alive turtles, after one was found on a beach in Ceredigion in December.

Two of the rarest marine turtle species found on a Vale of Glamorgan beach Dead turtles found just yards from each other The warm water Kemp’s ridley turtles were reported to MCS after we urged walkers to report sightings of dead or alive turtles, after one was found on a beach in Ceredigion in December. The first of the recent strandings was spotted a few days after Christmas at Tresilian Bay near Llantwit Major by Rebecca Dwerryhouse who was out walking her dog. Rebecca reported the dead animal to MCS and then returned to the beach with her daughter in gale force winds to bag up the turtle so it could be collected for post-mortem. The second animal was reported to MCS on the 3rd January by Stephen Williams, just a few yards from where Rebecca had found the first one. The turtle was also taken off the beach and collected for post- mortem the next day. Rebecca has since decided to patrol local beaches on a regular basis in the coming weeks in case more turtles are washed up. Dr Peter Richardson, MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager, says these young turtles have been washed in by the recent severe storms: “The ongoing windy weather blowing onto our shores will have generated surface currents in the ocean that will have sucked these small, young turtles from the warmer waters where they live, into our chilly seas. They cannot survive our winter temperatures for long but can sometimes be rescued if reported in time. It is great that these recent turtles were reported and as the windy weather continues, it’s essential that anyone finding stranded turtles on our shores reports them as soon as possible.” In the 1980’s Kemp’s were on the brink of extinction as a result of hunting and egg collection on the nesting beaches in Mexico and accidental capture and drowning in shrimp trawling nets fishing in the Gulf. Back then there were only a few hundred females recorded emerging at the main nesting beaches, but since strict protection on the beaches, and the use of special Turtle Excluder Devices in Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries. These measures have both contributed to the recovery of the species and now thousands of female Kemp’s ridley turtles emerge to nest each year. Dr Richardson says it’s really important that sightings are reported: “It’s possible more turtles will be washed up in this area. We would ask people to keep their eyes peeled for stranded turtles. Please don’t throw them back in the sea but get them away from the water in a sheltered place, preferably in a cardboard box out of draughts - stranded turtles can appear dead but may still be alive and can be rescued. However if they have died they are also useful to us for post-mortem research. All the relevant numbers are available on our downloadable UK Turtle Code which you can find here

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