North West Wales

Fight to save rare turtle washed ashore on Anglesey

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe animal could be an Olive ridley turtle - the first ever to be seen in the UK.

A rare tropical turtle remains in a serious condition and is "lucky to be alive" after being washed on to an Anglesey beach.

The animal is either a Kemps ridley or an Olive ridley turtle - the former is a critically endangered species.

It was discovered at Tan-y-Foel on Saturday close to Anglesey Sea Zoo and staff took it to a vet.

The turtle, believed to be female, has been nicknamed Menai and is undergoing rehabilitation at the zoo.

Menai is being rehydrated and gradually warmed, but zoo staff warned that while the turtle was responding well to treatment, she remained in a serious condition and may not survive.

Image copyright Anglesey Sea Zoo

Experts are still trying to determine which species of turtle Menai is - as the Kemps and Olive ridley turtles are difficult to distinguish apart.

While the Kemps ridley is critically endangered, the Olive ridley is classified as vulnerable and Anglesey Sea Zoo said one had never previously been recorded as stranding in the UK.

Both species are found in warm and tropical waters as far north as Mexico and the southern part of the US, but neither would be expected to survive in the cooler seas around Wales.

"This individual is much larger than any other Kemps ridley turtle documented as stranding in the UK, previously we have always recorded juveniles here," said marine expert Rod Penrose, from the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

"The fact that it is a larger animal has probably contributed to the fact that it is still alive despite the cold temperatures it has experienced."

Frankie Horbo, the director and owner of the zoo, said: "We were stunned that this magnificent creature was washed up on the beach right outside the sea zoo - it was as if she was asking for our help.

"If she had stranded elsewhere and not been found quickly, she would certainly have died.

"Our staff are working hard to rehabilitate our turtle and we hope that she will survive and be able to be flown back and released in warmer waters once she is strong enough."

Image copyright Anglesey Sea Zoo

Related Topics

More on this story