Loggerhead turtle found on Cornish beach

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The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is urging beach users to keep an eye out for marine turtles after one was washed up dead on a beach near Bude, on the north Cornwall coast.

The 26.5cm/11" juvenile Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) was spotted by a couple walking along Widemouth Bay on January 9, who reported it to the MCS using the UK Turtle Code for reporting marine turtle sightings.

Loggerheads are an endangered species and are only occasional visitors to the waters around the UK, with this specimen being  the 215th ever recorded in the UK and Ireland. The MCS is keen that any further sightings are reported as soon as possible after some rare Kemp Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) were found on beaches in Scotland and Wales over Christmas.

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.

"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."

More details on how to report turtle sightings can be found on the MCS website.

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