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Rare turtle found in Cumbria dies

The Kemp's Ridley turtle's health deteriorated. Credit: ITV Border

A rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, which washed up on the Cumbrian coastline, has now died.

It was being cared for at the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport.

The endangered turtle outlived several others that had been found in Europe, but had stopped eating, and was losing weight.

It passed away just half an hour before it was due to be moved to the Lakes Aquarium in Windermere, which has specialist feeding equipment.

Health setback for Cumbria's Kemp's ridley turtle

The Kemp's ridley turtle has been refusing food Credit: ITV Border

A critically endangered turtle that washed up on the Cumbrian coast is not feeding properly.

Staff at the Lake District Coast Aquarium have been caring for the Kemp's ridley since December.

Although it has made good progress the turtle is refusing food and losing weight.

It will now be moved to an aquarium in Windermere which has expertise in tube feeding turtles.


Rare turtle washed up in Cumbria

The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is thousands of miles from home Credit: ITV Border

One of the world's rarest sea turtles has washed up on the Cumbrian coast.

The critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is usually found thousands of miles away in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico but was discovered on a south Cumbrian beach just before Christmas.

It's being cared for at the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport.

The sea turtle was found on Walney Island by volunteer beach cleaners Credit: Vicki Temple

Two other Kemp's ridley turtles have live stranded recently - one at Formby, Merseyside, and one in Holland. It is likely they were cold-stunned and carried across the Atlantic on the Gulf Stream. It is possible more may strand."

– Sarah Neill, Cumbria co-ordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue

The turtle was taken to Maryport Aquarium and the creature is now under the care of BDMLR specialist vet, Vicki Temple who is providing round-the-clock care. If it makes a full recovery, it is planned to fly it to the United States where it will be released back into the Gulf of Mexico.

"The most important thing has been the temperature of the water that it's being kept in. It's been really important that its gone up steadily because if it comes up far too quickly which is your instinct when something is really cold, it can make them really sick if you warm them up really quickly"

– Vicki Temple, Vet

Kemp's Ridleys are so rare that it is thought there are only around 1,000 breeding females left in the world.

The turtles reach about 65cm in length and 45kg in weight. They are identifiable by their triangular-shaped head and greenish-grey colour.

Residents who find a stranded turtle, or any stranded marine life, should contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue hotline on 01825 765546.