The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is urging beach users to keep an eye out for marine turtles after one was washed up dead near Bude, on the north Cornwall coast.
The 26cm juvenile Loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, was spotted by a couple walking along Widemouth Bay in early January, the BBC reported.
Loggerheads are an endangered species and are only occasional visitors to the waters around the UK. The MCS is keen that any further sightings are reported as soon as possible after some rare Kemp Ridley, Lepidochelys kempii, and Green turtles, Chelonia mydas, were found on beaches in Scotland and Wales.
Dr Peter Richardson, MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager, said these young turtles had been washed in by severe storms and “cannot survive our winter temperatures for long but can sometimes be rescued if reported in time”.
He added: “We would ask people to keep their eyes peeled for stranded turtles. Please don’t throw them back in the sea but get them away from the water in a sheltered place, preferably in a cardboard box out of draughts – stranded turtles can appear dead but may still be alive and can be rescued. However if they have died, they are also useful to us for post-mortem research.”
More details on how to report turtle sightings can be found on the MCS website or at www.euroturtle.org/turtlecode/