World's rarest sea-turtle treated at Bristol Aquarium after being washed up in Storm Desmond

A rare sea turtle is undergoing emergency treatment at Bristol Aquarium after being spotted by a dog walker washed up on a Welsh beach.

The Kemp’s Ridley is the world’s rarest marine turtle species and is officially classified as ‘critically endangered’ in the wild.

The juvenile turtle, which measures around 30cm in length, was discovered on Aberystwyth’s North Beach at the weekend.

It’s thought the rare turtle may have been caught up in strong ocean currents as a result of Storm Desmond and carried in to UK waters.

The turtle was initially cared for by the person who found it but it was then transferred on to Rod Penrose from Marine Environmental Monitoring who deals with turtle strandings.He contacted aquarists at the aquarium to see if they could look after it.

The turtle is said to be very poorly indeed Credit: Bristol Aquarium/Sarah Moore

Adult Kemp’s ridleys are restricted to the Gulf of Mexico but juveniles travel much further, occasionally ending up in British waters after journeys of approximately 6,000 miles.

Five of the seven species of sea turtle have been recorded from the UK coast including the leatherback, hawksbill, green, Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead.

However only the leatherback is capable of raising its body temperature to cope with the cold waters around the UK while the other four species are all hard-shelled and cold-blooded and will become lethargic if sea temperatures drop below 15 Celsius.

Specialists at Bristol Aquarium are working to save the turtle's life Credit: Bristol Aquarium/Sarah Moore

What to do if you see a stranded sea-turtle:

  • Do not attempt to put the turtle back into the sea

  • Wrap in a towel soaked in seawater, don’t cover nostrils

  • Place in a secure place on its belly and do not attempt to warm the animal up - keep it at the same temperature you found it

  • If inactive, raise the back end of the shell so the turtle is resting at approximately 30° to drain lungs

  • Contact Marine Environmental Monitoring on 01239 683033, the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 or British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546

  • NOTE: these rules do not apply to leatherback turtles which can be carefully re-floated if uninjured. Please check with an expert first