Rare sea turtle blown 5,200 miles off course by Storm Arwen to Welsh beach

The ‘magnificent little creature’ is one of the world’s most critically endangered species (Picture: Anglesey Sea Zoo/SWNS)

One of the world’s rarest sea turtles was spotted washed up on a Welsh beach – a long, long way from home.

A dog walker who came across it was staggered to discover the creature had made it all the way from its natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite being blown 5,200 miles off course by Storm Arwen, the Kemp’s Ridley turtle was remarkably still alive.

The species is one of the world’s most critically endangered and the ‘magnificent’ specimen is being nursed back to full health by marine life experts.

Ash James, 34, and wife Samantha, 35, were walking their dog on Talacre beach in north Wales when they spotted the critter.

It was only when border collie Teddy started ‘making a fuss’ did they realise they’d come across something very unusual. 

They reported the find to British Marine Life Rescue and specialists found it was in a state of cold-water shock but alive.

They are usually found in tropical waters with a temperature of 25-30 degrees Celsius, while at this time of year Welsh local sea temperatures are a chilly eight degrees.

Dog owners noticed the turtle when their border collie started ‘making a fuss’ (Picture: Anglesey Sea Zoo/SWNS)
It was in a state of cold-water shock but alive (Picture: Anglesey Sea Zoo/SWNS)

Anglesey Sea Zoo said the juvenile Kemps Ridley turtle was doing well after a critical 48 hours.

It is currently undergoing intensive care and rehabilitation with hourly checks through the day and night, involving gradual rehydration and raising of its ambient temperature.

In 2008, the zoo cared for another rare turtle – an Olive Ridley turtle, nicknamed Menai – which was the first such type to be reported in UK waters since records began almost 200 years ago.

Experts have verified the latest find is a Kemp’s Ridley turtle. There are just two known breeding sites remaining for the species globally, both in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Frankie Hobro, director and owner of the zoo, said: ‘We are extremely excited that this magnificent little creature has washed up alive here in North Wales.

‘It is particularly poignant that this has happened almost exactly five years after the arrival of Menai who became so famous.

‘It is fortunate that the turtle stranded on a beach where it was found quickly, otherwise it would certainly have died.

Ash James, 34, and wife Samantha, 35, discovered the reptiles on Talacre beach (Picture: Anglesey Sea Zoo/SWNS)
The turtle is ‘doing well’ after the ordeal (Picture: Anglesey Sea Zoo/SWNS)

‘Tropical turtles washed up on our shores may appear dead when they are in fact in a state of torpor, or physiological ‘shut down’ due to the unsuitably low temperatures.

‘If this is the case they may be revived and can make a full recovery under the right conditions.’

He said the next few days would be crucial but arrangements would be made to return it to its natural environment if it pulls through. 

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