Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 13:23 UK

Loggerhead washed up in Cornwall

Loggerhead turtle
The loggerhead, which has been named Squirt, is responding well

A loggerhead turtle has been rescued after stranding on a beach in Cornwall.

The six-inch (15cm) juvenile was discovered on Loe Bar, near Porthleven, on Monday afternoon by Rose Ledbury from Warwick.

It was surrounded by a number of stranded Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish - one of the loggerhead's staple foods.

The turtle is recovering in a special quarantine unit at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

Loggerhead turtles were listed as an endangered species in 1978. Most are born along the coast of Mexico and Florida, although there are separate populations in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Loggerheads simply would not be able to survive for any length of time in British waters
Matt Slater, Blue Reef Aquarium

Cornwall Wildlife Trust said although it was very unusual, it was not unheard of for a rare loggerhead to wash up in South West Waters.

The trust's marine strandings officer Jan Loverage said seven had been found since 2006.

"If a turtle is found the public shouldn't put it back in the sea," she told BBC News.

"The reason they look like they're dead is because the water is too cold for them."

The turtle, which has been named Squirt, is said to be responding well to treatment and is already eating mackerel.

Net risk

Once he has fully recovered, the plan is to take to Squirt to the Canary Islands and release him.

"It's extremely fortunate Rose rescued him when she did because loggerheads simply would not be able to survive for any length of time in British waters," aquarium curator Matt Slater said.

"They are prone to hypothermia and are vulnerable to getting caught in fishing nets and other marine flotsam and jetsam."

An adult loggerhead which was found off the Gower Peninsula in South Wales last year was nursed back to health by the Cornish aquarium and released in January this year.

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