Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 16:46 UK

Washed up turtle making recovery

A generic picture of a loggerhead turtle (Blue Reef Aquarium)
Loggerheads like Flash follow jellyfish in to UK waters

A loggerhead turtle called Flash is said to be responding well to treatment after being found dehydrated and upside down on a beach in south Wales.

Flash was the 25th loggerhead turtle to be found on UK shores when he was found at Ogmore-on-sea, near Bridgend.

The sea turtle was named by the keepers at Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall, where he is recovering.

Manager David Waines said: "Flash is very fortunate to have been found by people who realised just what he was."

Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) are categorised as endangered on the internationally recognised Red List of Threatened Species. They breed in the northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts.

The hard-shell species are normally found in warmer waters south of the UK and are unable to raise their body temperature in order to survive in cold UK waters.

The important thing is not to touch the turtles - it is illegal to try and move them from the beach, this includes dead turtles as well
David Waines, Blue Reef Aquarium

It is thought the colder water can make them lethargic and unable to feed and eventually starve to death.

Mr Waines said Flash was "very poorly" when he was spotted by a family who at first thought he was large crab.

It was only on closer inspection that they realised it was a turtle and contacted the RSPCA.

He said: "He's only about 20cm long and was suffering from dehydration and a possible lung infection. He's now in our quarantine unit where he's being treated with antibiotics.

"We're also having to tube feed him but he's responding well to treatment and seems to be getting stronger day by day."

Blue Reef Aquarium Turtles
Loggerheads James and Dink were eventually returned to the wild

Of the previous 18 stranded loggerheads recorded this year, five were found alive, but only two have survived.

The other two, James and Dink, were also cared for at the aquarium where Flash is recovering. The pair were successfully released back into the wild on the Canary Islands in June.

Mr Waines said people should expect to see more loggerhead sightings on UK shores as the creatures track jellyfish, one of their staple foods.

He said: "The important thing is not to touch the turtles. They are a protected species. It is illegal to try and move them from the beach, this includes dead turtles as well. "

He said people should report loggerhead turtle sightings to the RSPCA or the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.




SEE ALSO
Experts tag jellyfish for study
11 Jul 08 |  South West Wales
Turtle diary: Return to the wild
30 Jun 08 |  Science/Nature
Scientists probe dead turtle mystery
03 Jun 08 |  Science/Nature
Fourth rare loggerhead found dead
14 Mar 08 |  Cornwall

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