[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Turtle found dead in fishing nets
Leatherback turtle
The turtle is being examined by scientists in Truro
A rare leatherback turtle has been found dead off the coast of Cornwall.

It was spotted by a helicopter crew which was carrying out a survey for RNAS Culdrose.

The turtle, which is among the largest reptiles in the world, is thought to have been caught in lobster pot buoy ropes off Botallack, near Lands End.

It was towed to shore at Cape Cornwall by the Sennen Inshore Lifeboat where it took a team of volunteers to lift the 6ft (1.83m) beast.

They come over to gorge themselves on the jellyfish to bring themselves back to strength for the next breeding period, which is about every two to three years
Peter Richardson, Marine Conservation Society

The leatherback has been taken to Truro to be examined by scientists.

Dave Jarvis, of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, was one of the team of volunteers who helped bring the turtle ashore.

He said: "We're not entirely sure it was killed in the fishing gear - it had obviously been dead for some time."

Peter Richardson from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said although leatherbacks are rare, July and August are the months they are most likely to be seen in UK waters.

Satellite tracking

He said: "There is an abundance of jellyfish here in August, on which the leatherback turtles feed.

"They come over to gorge themselves on the jellyfish to bring themselves back to strength for the next breeding period, which is about every two to three years."

The exact life expectancy of the leatherback is uncertain, but it is thought to be in excess of 50 years.

Earlier this month the Marine Turtle Research Group at the University of Exeter in Cornwall said it was mapping the progress of a leatherback turtle which had left an island in the Caribbean at the end of May after laying its eggs and could have been heading for Cornish waters.

But Brendan Godley from the group said their turtle, which is being tracked by satellite, is currently near Nova Scotia.




SEE ALSO:
Rare turtle may be Cornwall bound
12 Jul 05 |  Cornwall
Rare turtles need more protection
12 Nov 04 |  Cornwall
Dead turtle washed up on beach
23 Oct 04 |  South West Wales
Sea turtle decline 'costs millions'
25 May 04 |  Science/Nature
Pacific turtles 'gone in decade'
26 Feb 04 |  Science/Nature
Turtle spotted off coast
25 Feb 04 |  Cornwall


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific