Dec 27 2011

A Heads-Up to Coastal Walkers and Boaters in the UK:
Look Out for Stranded Sea Turtles!

Sea turtles don’t frequent my Adirondack home waters. (The fact that I live several hundred miles from the sea might have something to do with this, I suppose.) And they’re not often seen in UK waters in winter, either. But lately they’ve been washing up on beaches in Wales and Scotland, and the UK’s Marine Conservation Society is asking coastal walkers and boaters for help.

Why are warm-water species like the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtle suddenly turning up in cold northern seas? No one is sure, but it’s likely that recent storms may have altered surface currents, sweeping the unlucky turtles far from the warm waters where they normally winter. And while there’s nothing anyone can do about the weather, if you live in the UK there is something you can do to help stranded turtles. Dr. Peter Richardson of Marine Conservation Society’s tells how:

Our advice is that under no circumstances should stranded turtles be thrown back in the sea. While they may appear to be dead, they may in fact be comatose due to the cold conditions, and can be nursed back to health if immediately rescued and given expert care. [Even i]f they are dead, it is important that they are collected and stored for post-mortem examination. [Emphasis added]

You’ll find more information at the Marine Conservation Society’s website, where you can also download a PDF copy of the “UK Turtle Code.” And don’t forget: any stranded turtle, whether alive or dead, should be reported to Marine Environmental Monitoring on 01348 875000.


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