British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2005-02-02 15:29:50

Turtle rescued from Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Earlier this evening we received a call from the RSPCA regarding a turtle that had been seen on Carbis Bay beach, near St Ives. Apparently it had been making its way down towards the sea when a well-meaning member of the public picked it up and carried it back to the top of the beach. Coordinators Dave Jarvis and Tim Bain with Medics Caroline Curtis, Gary Hawkins, Dan Jarvis, Lesley Jarvis, Phil Jarvis Ian Laird and Selina Gregory (also a member of the Animal Care Team at the National Seal Sanctuary) were sent to the site immediately and began a search.

With the tide coming in and the moderately sized beach poorly lit, Medics split up and searched the beach by torchlight. Lesley found [click for larger image] the small turtle on the waterline, with waves threatening to wash it back out to sea. However, it was not moving, and we thought it was dead as it did not react at all when I picked it up to move it up the beach. While carrying it, I noticed its head moving slightly, so put it down to examine it more closely. Again it stopped moving, but a couple of minutes later it vaguely moved its foreflippers. It was about 1ft long and the shell was covered in a thin layer of seaweed, with a small parasitic organism clearly visible near the centre.

Selina, being the only Medic present to have previously dealt with turtles, took charge of the animal's care, and noted that it was a female and in a poor state of nutrition. Dave contacted Matt Slater of the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay, who have previously successfully rehabilitated rescued turtles, and he advised us to wrap the turtle in a wet towel and to relay the turtle to him at a supermarket car park in Redruth, where he would take it to the aquarium to be cared for. Phil volunteered to take the turtle, which continued to move very little throughout the rescue, up in his car in a box from Gary and Caroline's car with Selina.

Once at the meeting place, Matt formally identified it as a loggerhead turtle, and he took it with him back to the aquarium. While this was going on, Dave had contacted turtle expert Brendan Godley of the Marine Turtle Research Group, and advised him of the situation. Brendan also advised us that these turtles do not usually get washed up on their own, and more may be washed up in the near future.

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Land's End - St Austell)