WALES, U.K. – A sea turtle that calls the Atlantic coast of the U.S. home washed ashore last month on a U.K. beach.
Tally the turtle, as it is now being called, is being cared for by zookeepers at the Anglesey Sea Zoo in Wales after the reptile was found Nov. 26 in poor health on Talacre Beach, about 24 miles southwest of Liverpool.
Frankie Hobro, owner and director of the zoo, said Tally is a Kemp’s Ridley turtle – the smallest and most endangered of all sea turtle species.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this type of turtle is native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic shore of the U.S. up to Nova Scotia in Canada.
Hobro said she thinks Tally was feeding in the warm waters of the Atlantic when a storm stirred up a cold pocket of water and currents carried the animal up to the U.K.
"The first place she landed in this kind of cold shock, this kind of coma, was on a beach in Wales," Hobro told FOX Weather Wild on Monday night.
Hobro said it has taken them nearly two weeks to warm Tally up to the necessary 78 degrees for it to survive.
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"When you find these cold-stranded turtles, they’re effectively dead when you find them," Hobro said. "They’ve kind of gone into shutdown mode, and they just retain this core body heat, and you have to warm them up very, very slowly, so about 1 degree centigrade per day."
According to NOAA, there are documented reports in 1947 of tens of thousands of Kemp’s Ridley turtles nesting on beaches in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. The number of nests dropped to a record low of 702 in 1985.
Hobro said there are about 20,000 of these turtles left in the world.
Among the biggest threats facing the turtle, according to NOAA, are unintended capture in fishing gear, the direct harvest of the turtles and their eggs and loss of their nesting habitat.