Saturday, August 02, 2008

Death of dolphins are other marine creatures raise concerns

THE latest unusual visitor to these shores has been found washed up on a South Wales beach.
A stranded loggerhead turtle was discovered lying weak and on its back by a family out walking at Ogmore by Sea, near Bridgend.

But the creature is now being cared for by marine experts and will eventually be released into the warmer waters of somewhere like the Canary Islands.

Mark Major, his partner and their children stumbled upon the turtle during the family outing. Mark’s partner, Rhia Gregory, said: “We were picking up pebbles on the beach when I saw something on the pebbles and thought it was a large crab.

“Mark took a look and said it was a turtle on its back. There was a strong wind and the sea was rough so perhaps it was washed up. Our children, Jade, eight, and Kelsey, seven, were very excited. After all it’s not every day you find a turtle on a beach.

“It looked weak and so we contacted the RSPCA.”

An inspector from the RSPCA and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue identified it as a loggerhead and took it to the RSPCA centre in West Hatch, Somerset.

It has now been taken to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, where it will be prepared for eventual release into warmer waters.

Two rehabilitated turtles from Blue Reef were recently in the news having been successfully released into the warm waters of the Canary Isles.

Lin Gander, turtle administrator with West Wales-based Marine Environmental Monitoring, said: “Each year loggerhead turtles are found stranded on our Welsh beaches. These are usually small or disadvantaged turtles, with a flipper missing, and it is thought that they are carried to our shores by strong south westerly surface currents that take them away from their natural foraging areas in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Records of all turtle sightings and strandings around the UK and Irish waters are recorded by Marine Environmental Monitoring on a national turtle database.

Experts say live stranded turtles should be reported to the RSPCA and all turtle sighting and strandings should be reported to Marine Environmental Monitoring on 01348 875000.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"