Members of the public are being asked to watch out for rare washed up turtles on Dorset’s award winning beaches.
Four rare Kemp’s Ridley turtles have been found washed up within a staggering nine days.
Dorset Wildlife Trust 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.”
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!”
Advice from conservationists urges people to not put them back in the sea because the water is too cold for their bodies and they will die. They ask that if found they’re reported as soon as possible.
It’s not just rare turtles that have turned up on our Dorset shores. ‘By the wind sailors’,Vellela Vellela, have been seen stranded on Dorset’s beaches and are normally spotted along the Atlantic coast.
The Vellela Vellela, have an oval shaped float, feeding tentacles and a triangle sail on their top.
Marine Conservation Officer, Emma Rance said “Although they look like a jellyfish, they are not. They are actually a colony of cohabiting polyps! They are similar to jellyfish in that they use stinging cells to capture their prey but this is in no way harmful to us as it cannot penetrate our skin.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.