Three stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles are recovering at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium after being found stranded on beaches in Cornwall.
The first turtle was found on Friday 13 January on Perranporth beach and is now feeding itself and swimming after receiving specialised care.
Two more juvenile loggerheads were brought to the aquarium by volunteers from the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) on 3 February, one being found at Widemouth Bay, Bude and the other found at Perranporth Beach, near Newquay.
Blue Reef Aquarium’s General Manager Steve Matchett said: “These turtles are washed up in an extremely weakened state called cold stunned and are very often dehydrated.
"They are from warm waters and get taken off course by storms when following warm Atlantic currents.
"When they are brought to us we follow an established procedure to try and return them to full health and get them ready for release back into warmer waters, usually near the Canary Isles.”
Staff at the aquarium say many of the turtles they see don’t survive due to being too cold for too long a period of time before being washed up in the UK.
Lara Heaney the aquarium’s assistant curator explained: “Over a period of weeks we very gradually raise the temperature of the water and when the turtles become more active we can then start them feeding and swimming.
"To start with we rehydrate them by tubing or syringing fluids into their mouths several times a day. Then progress onto a liquidised fish diet”
“This can be a long process to recovery and we always have to be mindful of hidden internal injuries before we can be confident any are on the way to a full recovery,” she added.
It is important that any turtles washed up are not put back into the sea, as theywill die because UK waters are too cold.
What to do if you find a stranded 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 atapproximately 30° to drain the lungs
Contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue 24hr hotline on 01825 765546
These rules do not apply to leatherback turtles which can be carefully re-floated ifuninjured. Please check with an expert first.