Huge leatherback turtle washes up on Cornish beach

leatherback turtle
Hannah Collins, a Cornwall Wildlife Trust strandings volunteer, recorded the find. Credit: Hannah Collins

A leatherback turtle has been found washed up on Perranporth beach in Cornwall.

The animal had died and looked to be in a poor condition when it was spotted on Saturday 4 November.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is understood to have taken the turtle away for further research into what may have caused it to wash up.

The Marine Strandings Network said: "Measuring a decent 166cm long it was a decent size, although the largest leatherback ever recorded was apparently over three metres long.

"We get around one a year, so it is not a rarity, but always fascinating."

Jason Halford, a manager at the Watering Hole pub on the beach, was involved in helping to remove the turtle from the shoreline.

The turtle was 166cm long Credit: Marine Strandings Network

He told ITV News: "I went down there and there was already some people from the Marine Strandings Network that were taking measurements and details. We put it on a pallet and bought it back up the beach.

"We think it was about 50 years old. It's so unique to find something like that washed up on our beaches and so spectacular because you don't normally see them, so it's understandable to see the kind of attention it's got."

Leatherback turtles are commonly found in westerly UK waters in the summer months. They are classed as vulnerable, with many populations critically endangered and at risk of extinction.

In the UK, they are a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.