A rare species of turtle was found on a Welsh beach, some 5,000 miles away from its natural habitat. A local resident found the creature along Talacre beach in Clywd while walking his dog.
‘Very Rare’ Turtle
It turns out the marine animal was not a Leatherback as was initially thought, but rather, a rare Kemp’s Ridley turtle. According to Matthew Westfield, strandings coordinator for Marine Environmental Monitoring, its usual habitat is in the Gulf of Mexico.
When Ashley James first came upon the turtle on his walk, he called his wife, Samantha and don, Gethin to come see it. Mrs James told Sky News:
My husband went back down to the beach to help them find it and I got a call from them and I could hear my son shouting, 'It's alive, it's alive!' They prodded the side of his eye and he retracted his face and scrunched it all in, they couldn't believe it.
They then reported the find to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity.
It is believed that the turtle, which is best adapted to warmer waters, may have been knocked off course by strong winds before going into shock in the colder waters. Mr Westfield said:
They are very susceptible to tides and currents. Occasionally they will get caught in currents that take them further afield and as soon as they hit cold water they go into this cold shock where the whole body shuts down and they are just at the mercy of the tide.
The turtle, named Tally, belongs to a species classed as critically endangered. Humans used to hunt them for their meat and eggs to the point of extinction.
British Isles & Republic of Ireland 'TURTLE' Database shows that at least 72 Kemp's Ridley turtles have turned up in the UK since records began in 1748, although most of these have been found dead.
The creature has been taken into the care of Anglesey Sea Zoo, where it will be released back into the wild after its rehabilitation. According to zoo officials:
As a Kemp's Ridley turtle, Tally is critically endangered, and the rarest turtle species in the world, making him/her especially precious. Tally is not on public display but is being safely cared for away from the public eye at this critical stage of recovery.