A baby sea turtle, which was washed ashore in the storms on a Welsh beach, is recovering at Bristol Aquarium.
The tiny loggerhead turtle, which has been nicknamed ‘Stormy’ and measures just 17cms in length, was spotted stranded by a member of the public at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire.
The man, who was out with his family looking at a fossilised forest which had been exposed by the rough seas, found the stricken turtle on the strandline.
Realising the animal was close to death he contacted a local animal rescue group and, following initial emergency treatment, it was transported to Bristol Aquarium.
“It’s extremely fortunate he was found alive as loggerheads simply would not be able to survive for any length of time in British waters,” said Bristol Aquarium’s David Waines.
“They are prone to hypothermia and are vulnerable to getting caught in fishing nets and other marine flotsam and jetsam.
“When Stormy arrived here at the aquarium he was very poorly indeed, he is currently being looked after in a special quarantine tank where we are very gradually increasing the temperature of the water.
“He is also being treated with a course of antibiotics and we are currently using a tube to feed him – his condition has improved a lot in recent days and we remain cautiously optimistic,” he added.
Mr Waines, who was previously at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, has successfully rehabilitated and released seven rescued sea turtles back into the wild.
Loggerhead turtles are rare in UK waters but their numbers, along with other warm water species do seem to be on the rise.
If anyone does come across a stranded sea turtle the advice is not to try and put them back in the water but to contact an animal rescue organisation, such as the BDMLR or Bristol Aquarium direct.
Most loggerheads are born along the coast of Mexico and Florida although there are separate populations in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
During their first three years of life many loggerheads migrate with the warmer waters of the Atlantic circulating in a current of water known as the North Atlantic Gyre which is rich in their favourite food including jellyfish and squid.
Stormy was probably born on a beach in the Caribbean or Mexico and somehow – possibly following a severe storm – ended up getting pushed out of the gyre and further and further north.
Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange picture/ filming opportunities please contact Tina Patel, David Waines or Dan de Castro on 0117 929 8929.