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Critically endangered turtle washes up on Anglesey beach

Rhossi the tiny, rare Kemps Ridley turtle being cared for at the Anglesey Sea Zoo

ANOTHER critically endangered turtle has washed up on an Anglesey beach after being found by a dog. Rhossi as she has been named was found on the beach at Rhosneigr by a four year old pooch called Meg on Tuesday.

The Sea Zoo at Brynsiencyn had received a call from a member of the public walking their dog on Traeth Llydan. Meg had sniffed out the tiny turtle from amongst the seaweed.

Four year old Meg who found Rhossi the juvenile Kemps Ridley turtle (Pic: Anglesey Sea Zoo)

The juvenile turtle, as yet it is too young to establish its exact age was immediately transferred to the Anglesey Sea Zoo for specialist intensive care. Cold stranded turtles can die during the process of being revived and the first 48 hours of care is critical.

But the sea zoo has developed expertise in handling cold stranded turtles in recent years, and immediately reassembled a purpose-built incubator which had been used to revive the three other turtles it has helped in the past.

Rhossi is the second Kemps Ridley turtle – one of the world’s rarest tropical sea turtles – to be rescued by the Anglesey Sea Zoo. Its team also famously rescued ‘Tally’ the turtle when she washed up on Talacre Beach in November, 2021.

She was rehabilitated for 20 months before being flown to the USA in August for re-release into the wild. The Anglesey Sea Zoo team are recognised as experts in the UK for stranded tropical turtle rehabilitation.

It follows a successful rehabilitation of ‘Menai’ the Olive Ridley turtle who managed to wash up, stranded at the bottom of the Sea Zoo drive, beside the Menai Strait, in November 2016.

‘Tally,’ a Kemps Ridley in November, 2021 was re- released in Texas and ‘Tonni’ a little loggerhead turtle, who washed up in January this year, is awaiting imminent return to the Canary Islands for release.

It is not the first time that a juvenile Kemps Ridley turtle has been washed up in the UK, there have been over 30 instances of live juveniles stranding in the British Isles but of these only five have been successfully rehabilitated and re-released.

Frankie Hobro director of the Anglesey Sea Zoo checks out Rhossi the Kemps Ridley juvenile, one of the world’s rarest tropical sea turtles (Pic: Anglesey Sea Zoo)

Frankie Hobro, Director and Owner of the Anglesey Sea Zoo said: “We are extremely excited to have a second Kemps Ridley turtle wash up alive on a local beach, and very grateful to Meg for finding it!

“All four of our rescued turtles were discovered by dogs being walked on the beach. We are urging dog walkers to please keep an eye out for stranded tropical turtles, particularly during the winter months, on the strandline amongst seaweed.

“These turtles are often extremely difficult to spot – but dogs will sniff them out. And although they may appear dead they can often be revived with the correct, immediate specialist care.

“As a critically endangered species every individual Kemps Ridley turtle is precious. We hope Rhossi will recover and will eventually be flown back to Texas as ‘Tally’ was, and re-released back into the wild in the Gulf of Mexico to contribute to the ongoing survival of its species.”

Frankie says the dedication of rehabilitating a turtle over many months is a “huge burden on resources” at the sea zoo, which is self-funded.

She is hoping that the public can help with its fundraising, by visiting the go fund me page. You can make a donation here.