Two rare sea turtles have washed ashore on beaches in the North West, some 5,000 miles from their home in the Gulf of Mexico.
The critically-endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles were found in Cumbria and Merseyside, and it is feared that more could yet appear.
Rod Penrose, a Marine mammal expert, said that they could have been “cold-stunned” by a drop in ocean temperatures in the US, which would leave them unable to feed or swim against strong currents.
Rob Archer, who was walking with his girlfriend on Saturday when he found one of the turtles on Sefton Beach, near Formby, told the Liverpool Echo: “At first I thought it was a crab.
“It seemed in a stupor as if there wasn’t much life left in it.
“My first thought was to put it back in the sea so I walked out into some deeper water and it swam away.”
However, the turtle washed ashore again nearby on Monday afternoon and is now being cared for at RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire.
The turtle which washed ashore in Cumbria’s Walney Island on Sunday has been taken to the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport.
Expert warn that the anyone who finds a turtle should call the RSPCA and not put it back in the sea.
Mr Penrose, who warned that there was likely more turtles struggling of the coast of Britain, told the BBC: “The sea temperatures on the east coast of the USA recently dropped causing large numbers of Kemp’s ridleys to become cold-stunned.
“This condition leaves the turtles in a lethargic condition unable to feed or swim against strong currents.
“The two turtles currently in rehab are very likely as a result of this event.”
The discoveries emerge just a day after a seal had to be rescued from a field more than 20 miles inland, also in Merseyside.
The adult seal, who is believed to have got lost, has now been transported almost 200 miles across the country from where he was found to the charity’s specialist facility in East Winch, Norfolk. Centre manager Alison Charles said: “At the moment we are keeping him under close observation.
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