Stranded turtle washed up on Woolacombe beach

The turtle was found at high tide on Woolacombe beach. The turtle was found at high tide on Woolacombe beach.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
9:11 AM

The dead creature was found on the shoreline at high tide on Tuesday, as the Marine Conservation Society urges beach users to ‘keep their eyes peeled’.

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A DEAD turtle has been discovered washed up on a North Devon beach after the recent stormy weather.

The creature, which measured just 30cm in length and is a Kemp’s Ridley turtle, was found on Tuesday on Woolacombe beach.

Dr Peter Richardson, biodiversity programme manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said another Kemp’s Ridley was discovered on a beach in Carmarthenshire a couple of weeks ago.

He said: “In December a young loggerhead turtle washed up dead at Worthing, and this month we have also received reports of leatherback turtle remains on Chesil beach near Weymouth, and on Tregantle Beach in south east Cornwall.”

The sighting was reported to the MCS and Dr Richardson urges anyone else who makes such a discovery to do the same.

He said: “We would ask people to keep their eyes peeled for stranded turtles during this stormy weather.

“Sometimes freshly stranded turtles can appear dead, but may still be alive and can be rescued.

“They should NOT be put back in the sea, as this will definitely kill them.

“Instead they should be moved away from the water to a sheltered place, preferably in a cardboard box out of draughts, and reported to experts for collection.

“Even if they are obviously dead they should be reported as they can be used for post-mortem research.”

In the 1980s, Kemp’s were on the brink of extinction as a result of hunting and egg collection on the nesting beaches in Mexico.

They were also victims of accidental capture and drowning in shrimp trawling nets fishing in the Gulf.

There were only a few hundred females emerging at nesting beaches, but since then strict protection has been put in place.

These measures have contributed to the recovery of the species and there are now thousands of females emerging to nest each year.

If you find a stranded or dead turtle on the beach then you can report them to the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme on 0800 6520333.

You can also find out more information by downloading the UK Turtle Code which you can find at www.mcsuk.org.

Have you made any unusual finds on the beach during the stormy weather? Email sarah.howells@archant.co.uk with your sightings.

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