World’s rarest sea turtle found washed up on Devon beach
Man discovers dead Kemp’s ridley sea turtle – the rarest in the world – while on seaside walk on Green Cliff beach, Devon
A man stumbled across one of the the world’s rarest turtles on a Devon beach – and is now keeping it in his freezer.
Ben Read discovered the dead Kemp’s ridley sea turtle while out on a seaside walk.
The critically-endangered Kemp’s ridley is the rarest sea turtle in the world, with only 1,000 nesting females left.
Mr Read, 28, desperately contacted a friend studying marine biology to help and was told the tiny creature is a Kemp’s ridley.
Concerned about how rare the turtle was, Mr Read took it back home with him and put it in his freezer while he awaits a visit from a marine biologist who will collect it for further analysis.
Mr Read, from Torrington, said: « The marine biologist knew straight away, as soon as I described the markings, that it could be a Kemp’s ridley.
« He said that the turtles originate from Mexico, but are extremely rare and are now critically endangered. »
Mr Read found the turtle on Green Cliff beach, around 10 miles from his house.
Hunting first depleted their numbers, but now major threats include habitat loss, pollution and entanglement in shrimping nets.
Dr Peter Richardson, biodiversity programme manager for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), said the turtles would not survive in British waters.
« We ask people to keep their eyes peeled for stranded turtles during this stormy weather, » he said.
« Sometimes freshly stranded turtles can appear dead, but may still be alive and can be rescued. They should not be put back in the sea, as this will definitely kill them.
« Instead, they should be moved away from the water to a sheltered place, preferably in a cardboard box out of draughts, and reported to experts for collection. »