A tropical sea turtle never before found in the United Kingdom wandered into Wales on Saturday — 5,000 miles away from its native habitat.
The turtle has been identified as a member of either the Olive Ridley or Kemps Ridley species, both of which are extremely rare. Ridley turtles inhabit warm and tropical waters and to be discovered so far north is shocking, leaving puzzled zoologists scratching their heads.
The estimated 8°C temperature of the Anglesey sea is intolerable to animals used to 25-30°C temperatures this time of the year and it is astounding the turtle survived. The biggest mystery of all is how it managed to end up on Tan-Y-Foel beach along the Menai straits — yards from the Anglesey Sea Zoo.
BBC News – Fight to save rare turtle washed ashore on Anglesey https://t.co/SbacwnpieQ good luck menai the turtle
— TaclaTaid (@TaclaTaid) November 20, 2016
The female turtle, respectively named Menai, was able to begin immediate rehabilitation due to its proximity to the marine facility but remains in critical condition. Although facing lingering effects from extreme dehydration and impending hypothermia, the future is bright for this tropical turtle, thanks to the prompt action of staff at the Anglesey Sea Zoo.
The only native species of sea turtle to the waters around Great Britain is the Leatherback Turtle. Although sea turtles are migratory animals by nature, often traveling hundreds to thousands of miles between nesting and foraging grounds, no Ridley turtle should be swimming this far north, and has never before been recorded in Wales.
Zoologists’ best guess is that Menai lost her way due to excessively strong winds and powerful ocean currents.
Featured image: National Park Service