Public asked to help as storms wash up rare turtles
Wednesday 6th January 2016
Washed-up Kemp’s Ridley Turtle © Julie Hatcher
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is asking members of the public to report sightings of any turtles washed up on Dorset beaches as a matter of urgency following the discovery of four turtles in just nine days, including the rare Kemp’s Ridley Turtle.
On 23rd December a live Loggerhead Turtle was found near Worth Matravers in Dorset, which had to be put to sleep due to its injuries. Since then, 3 critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley Turtles, the rarest of all Turtles, have been found dead by beach walkers at West Bay, West Bexington and Kimmeridge.
Winter storms have been tough of wildlife living in the sea
DWT Marine Awareness Officer, Julie Hatcher said, “The winter storms have been tough on wildlife living in the sea. Hard-shelled Turtles live in tropical seas, but if they get picked up in a strong ocean current such as the gulf stream, and end up in cold northern waters they can’t survive for long because their metabolism slows down and they stop feeding. The public can help by reporting any sightings, alive or dead, so we can arrange a rescue, or recovery and post mortem to help us learn more about the threats to these animals in our oceans.”
Other discoveries have also been made
The storms have also led to a colony of tropical sea snails living on a fishing buoy being discovered for the first time in Dorset, exotic plant seeds (sea beans) such as the Sea Heart, Columbus Crabs and ‘by-the-wind sailors’ being washed up.
We are seeing some really interesting wildlife
Julie added, “Whilst some marine animals aren’t faring well from the recent weather, we are also seeing some really interesting wildlife being washed up on Dorset beaches. The sea snails were a fascinating find and shows how species can travel from one continent to another via floating debris. The Sea Heart is a large seed from a tropical vine that can survive floating in the ocean for 17 years or more and is still able to germinate if it lands on a suitable beach!”
Please report any Turtle sightings asap
To report sightings of Turtles dead or alive, please phone Rod Penrose on 01239 683033 (24 hours) as soon as possible. For other sightings phone 01929 481044 or email . You can also share your photos with DWT on social media via facebook/dorsetwildlife or Twitter, @DorsetWildlife.
Come and see live Columbus crabs for yourselves!
Live Columbus crabs carried from the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, can be seen at DWT’s Fine Foundation Marine Centre, open Sundays from 10am-4pm. (SY909789*).
*How to get to the Purbeck Marine Centre: Take the A351 from Wareham to Corfe Castle & the first turn right to Creech. Follow road to the top of a steep hill & round a hairbend bend signposted to Church Knowle. Approx. 2 miles on, turn right to Kimmeridge. Drive through village to toll booth. Parking fee payable to Smedmore Estate
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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