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Critically endangered marine turtle washes up on Carmarthenshire coast

By Amy_Downward  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

Critically endangered marine turtle taken by Louise Panes

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A critically endangered marine turtle has been washed up on Cefn Sidan beach, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire.

The warm water Kemp’s ridley turtle was reported to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) by Louise Panes who found the dead turtle on Tuesday, January, 14.

Louise discovered the animal whilst walking her three dogs on the beach.

She said the dogs became interested in a patch of washed up sea grass, and Louise initially thought it was a dead seagull.

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She said: "I went over to pull them away and was surprised to find what looked like a turtle lying alongside the grass.

"At first I thought it looked like a large tortoise but I could see from its front legs that these were more like flippers than legs.

"I could see it was dead as it had been damaged by something around the back of its neck, but as I had never seen a turtle on the beach before I was pretty certain that it was an uncommon sight in the waters around Wales.”

Dr Peter Richardson, MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager, said it’s not the first turtle to wash up in the recent storms.

He said: "In December a young loggerhead turtle washed up dead at Worthing, and in the last couple of weeks we have received reports of leatherback turtle remains washed up on Chesil beach near Weymouth, and on Tregantle Beach in south east Cornwall.”

Two Kemp’s ridley turtles were washed up on Welsh beaches during rough weather in January 2012, both at Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan.

In December 2011 another had been found at a beach in Ceredigion

In the 1980’s Kemp’s were on the brink of extinction as a result of hunting and egg collection on the nesting beaches in Mexico, and through accidental capture and drowning in shrimp trawling nets fishing in the Gulf.

Back then there were only a few hundred females recorded emerging at the main nesting beaches, but since then strict protection on the beaches has been put in place, and the use of special Turtle Excluder Devices in Gulf of Mexico shrimp nets has escalated.

These measures have both contributed to the recovery of the species and now thousands of female Kemp’s ridley turtles emerge to nest each year.

Dr Richardson said: “We would ask people to keep their eyes peeled for stranded turtles during this stormy weather.

"Sometimes freshly stranded turtles can appear dead, but may still be alive and can be rescued.

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