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13th March 2008

Loggerhead turtle. Photo: Jan LoveridgeCornwall Wildlife Trust is urging beach walkers to look out for marine turtles after another loggerhead turtle washed up on a Cornish beach yesterday. The stormy weather and strong winds in recent days probably washed the turtle ashore. Since January four loggerhead turtles have been found on beaches in the South West of England and 13 more were recorded around the UK and Ireland.

Joana Doyle, Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust said, "It is unusual that we have had so many loggerhead turtle strandings around Cornwall and other parts of the UK in the last few months. Many of the turtles reported were already dead however two were still alive and are currently being rehabilitated for future release at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay".

The dead turtle was first spotted by Roger Adams walking on Wanson beach, near Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall yesterday morning. Roger contacted Allan Coltart, one of the North Cornwall District Council beach rangers, who is also a trained Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network volunteer. Alan notified the Trust's Marine Strandings Hotline Coordinator, inspected the animal and arranged for the turtle to be collected from the beach.

The turtle was stored overnight in a strandings volunteer's shed and was delivered to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Truro this morning for post-mortem examination.

Eleven out of nineteen live-stranded turtles rescued from UK and Irish beaches in the last decade have been successfully rehabilitated and released back into warmer seas abroad.

It is very important that the public realise that a turtle may appear to be dead when it is not.  Joana continued, "Due to the cold water temperatures the turtle's metabolism slows right down and they may not move at all, so people may think they are dead. The most important thing to do is to report a stranded turtle as soon as possible and never try to return it to the sea, as this will result in it dying".

Loggerhead turtles are found in temperate and subtropical coastal waters worldwide. They nest at a few sites in the Mediterranean, and along the coasts of Oman, South Africa, Australia and south east America. The loggerhead is listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).



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