On 27 January, a juvenile loggerhead turtle washed up on the Island of Iona on the Scottish west coast. After being discovered by a member of the public, the finding was reported to the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) whose team was able to successfully rescue the individual.
The find was surprising as loggerheads usually don’t swim this far up. As a tropical and subtropical species that enter the Gulf Stream as newborns, they can get pushed up too far north where the cold blooded reptiles struggle to survive and get hypothermic, malnourished and dehydrated. While loggerhead turtles do wash up around the UK most years, they are usually smaller and wash up dead.
The recently found loggerhead turtle, however, was still in relatively good shape. After contacting the BDMLR, the member of the public brought the turtle on to a ferry to the island of Mull where a Marine Mammal Medic collected the turtle, before bringing it to Mull’s aquarium for one night. The next day, the turtle boarded another ferry to Oban where another medic transported it to Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre for rehabilitation purposes.
To avoid thermal shock, the loggerhead will have its body temperature increased gradually. If it is able to survive, the individual might be returned to the wild in warmer spheres such as the Canary Island. The BDMLR wrote on social media: “Massive thank you to all parties involved, everyone really came together to help this turtle and give it the best chance of survival, we couldn’t be more grateful.”
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Photography courtesy of Chris Sharples/BDMLR (cover image) & Unsplash (on this page).