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


2009-02-05 15:44:45

Stranded turtles to be released

Loggerhead turtleDuring 2008 a record number of loggerhead turtles both dead and alive were found stranded on the UK and Republic of Ireland coast.

30 animals were recorded (20 dead, 10 alive) of the 10 live animals 5 survived in rehab, 2 have already been flown to Gran Canaria for release in 2008. The remaining 3 are currently at Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall.

Of the 3 remaining, one was retrieved from the beach cold-stunned at Ogmore by Sea, Vale of Glamorgan on the 19th July 2008 (named Flash) and another retrieved from the sea, again cold-stunned, off Port Eynon on the Gower by 'Gower Coast Adventures' on the 2nd of August 2008 (named ‘Nemo’). Both Welsh turtles were relayed down to Blue Reef Aquarium in Cornwall by a team consisting of the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue. The third loggerhead stranded near Dingle in the RoI and was brought over to join the 2 at Newquay ready for repatriation.

Arrangements are currently well underway to fly all three loggerheads out to Gran Canaria from Gatwick Airport on Monday 9th February for release. Thomas Cook have agreed to transport the 3 turtles completely free of charge and PBS International have produced the relevant paperwork also free of charge.

Unlike leatherback turtles which are regular visitors to the UK, loggerheads and other 'hardshell' turtles cannot raise their body temperatures to cope with cold sea temperatures around the UK coast. The ‘hardshell’ turtles are often small animals or are compromised in some way often having whole or parts-of flippers missing. It is thought these animals may struggle to stay in the north Atlantic Gyre and get blown up to the cold waters around the UK. Once the temperatures start to drop the turtles become lethargic and are unable to feed (cold-stunned) and will eventually die. If found on a beach still alive they should not be put back in the sea but the relevant contact number should be phoned to arrange for recovery and transportation to a rehabilitation centre ready for repatriation. (In Wales this is Marine Environmental Monitoring on 01348 875000).

Rod Penrose
Strandings Co-ordinator (Wales)
UK and Republic of Ireland 'TURTLE' Database Manager