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Cornwall's beaches are always packed with families in the summer, but one beach has had a rather unusual visitor. A tiny loggerhead sea turtle has been rescued after stranding on Loe Bar near Porthleven.
Blue Reef's Matt Slater
Loggerhead turtles can usually be found enjoying the warm waters around the Canaries. However a tiny turtle has been rescued from a Cornish beach.
The 15cms-long juvenile, who has been nicknamed Squirt, was discovered on Loe Bar near Porthleven on Monday 10 August 2009.
He was found by Rose Ledbury, a marine silver-smith from Warwick, surrounded by stranded Portuguese man of war jellyfish – one of the loggerhead turtles favourite food items.
Squirt is now recovering at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay in a special quarantine unit.
"It's extremely fortunate Rose rescued him when she did because loggerheads simply would not be able to survive for any length of time in British waters," said Blue Reef curator Matt Slater.
"They are prone to hypothermia and are vulnerable to getting caught in fishing nets and other marine flotsam and jetsam."
Squirt the loggerhead turtle
Loggerhead turtles are rare in UK waters but their numbers, along with other warm water species do seem to be on the rise.
If anyone does come across a stranded turtle the advice is not to try and put them back in the water but to contact an animal rescue organisation or Blue Reef Aquarium direct.
Most loggerheads are born along the coast of Mexico and Florida although there are separate populations in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
During their first three years of life many loggerheads migrate with the warmer waters of the Atlantic circulating in a current of water known as the North Atlantic Gyre which is rich in their favourite food including jellyfish and squid.
Squirt was probably born on a beach in the Caribbean or Mexico and somehow – possibly following a severe storm - ended up getting pushed out of the gyre and further and further north.
Blue Reef is the country’s leading turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre having successfully released nine turtles back into the wild in recent year.
Loggerheads are categorised as endangered on the internationally-recognised red list of threatened species.
last updated: 13/08/2009 at 10:04
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