Baby turtles found 'dehydrated and starving' after washing up on Cornwall beach

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report

Three stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles are 'doing well' after washing up onto beaches in Cornwall.

The baby turtles are normally found in the Caribbean but it is thought storms washed them off course before cold currents carried them all the way to the UK.

They are now being cared for at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium after being found in poor condition in Cornwall.

The first turtle, which has been called Jason, was found on Friday 13 January on Perranporth beach.

Aquarists were caring for Jason when two more turtles were found stranded on beaches, one also at Perranporth Beach and the other at Widemouth Bay near Bude.

Jason and Gordon, one of the other two rescued turtles, are now doing well and are feeding themselves and swimming.

The third smaller loggerhead turtle, which is much weaker, is still being syringe-fed regularly and being monitored by the team.

The turtle is slowly starting to gain weight and is undergoing further treatments as part of its rehabilitation. Aquarists have been re-hydrating it by providing fluids several times a day and progressing onto a liquidised fish diet.

The third turtle is still being syringe fed by staff. Credit: Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay

Aquarists are in the process of preparing the tank Jason is currently in with a divider so that Gordan can be moved into the same tank so it has more room to swim safely.

Steve Matchett, Blue Reef Aquarium’s General Manager, said: “These turtles have arrived dehydrated and starving, so are very weak when they get washed up on our UK beaches. 

"Of the three we are working on at present, two seem to be strong candidates for a release back into the wild based on their good progress, but the smallest one is still not at the stage we hoped it would be by now. 

"It will take some more time to see if it is going to make it, but it has recently started to show some positive signs."

The team at the aquarium have said that these turtles will not be visible to visitors and will be kept in the site quarantine until they are ready to be released.

Lara Heaney the aquarium’s assistant curator said: “We get lots of enquiries about their progress and asked when they will be on public view, but these are sick animals that are under treatment so we won’t be putting them on display.

"However visitors can always come and see our resident rescue turtle Omiros at the aquarium or our group of terrapins to get their turtle fix .”

Staff at the aquarium are reminding the public that that any turtles washed up are not put back into the sea, as they will die as 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 at approximately 30° to drain lungs

  • Contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue 24hr hotline on 01825 765546