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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 07:01 GMT
Aquarium cares for second turtle
Loggerhead turtle at Blue Reef Aquarium
The first turtle was found near Bude
A rare sea turtle is being looked after at an aquarium in Cornwall after becoming stranded on a beach in Devon.

The 20cm (8in) juvenile loggerhead turtle was discovered on Putsborough Beach, near Woolacombe, and taken to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

It is the second such turtle to be found in the South West in a week.

The aquarium said it was rare to find two such turtles and it was doing what it could so they could be released back into the wild.

It's rare for two turtles to strand within such a short space of time
Matt Slater

The first turtle was found by a woman out walking on Blackrock Beach, near Bude, last week.

Both are now recovering at the aquarium in special quarantine tanks after receiving a veterinary examination.

Blue Reef curator Matt Slater said: "It's rare for two turtles to strand within such a short space of time.

"It's even more unusual for both of them to survive their ordeal and we're now doing everything we can to ensure they make a full recovery and can be released back into the wild."

Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) are categorised as endangered on the internationally-recognised red list of threatened species.

Colder waters

Mr Slater said: "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 to 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.

"We believe both turtles were probably born on a beach in America or Mexico and, somehow, possibly following a severe storm, ended up getting pushed out of the gyre and further and further north.

"Most turtles are cold-blooded and, as they headed towards the UK coast, the colder waters would have initially stopped them feeding and eventually led them to become virtually unconscious."

The aquarium plans to nurse the animals back to health and have them airlifted to warmer waters at a later date.

Rare turtle is rescued from beach
01 Feb 08 |  Cornwall

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