A CRITICALLY endangered sea turtle which was found washed up alive on Talacre has been described as "extremely precious".

On Sunday, local couple Ash and Samantha James, and their son nine-year-old son Gethin, made the remarkable discovery of a Kemp's Ridley turtle - the world's rarest and most endangered species of sea turtle.

They presumed the motionless turtle to be dead, but contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue to report the finding.

The Leader:

Specialists attended and found the juvenile turtle was alive, but in a state of cold water shock.

It was rushed to Anglesey Sea Zoo for specialist intensive care - where it currently remains. Staff at the aquarium have named the turtle 'Tally' after the beach where it was found.

Cold stranded turtles often die during the process of being revived and the first 48 hours of care are absolutely critical, and Anglesey Sea Zoo said it "may not survive".

But the aquarium said it is "delighted" report that so far it "looks promising". Its progress over the next few days should give an indication of its long-term prospects..

A spokesperson said: "While we are hoping it will make a full recovery, it is too early to be sure at this stage as it is still in an extremely critical condition.

"It is critically endangered, protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations with just two known breeding sites remaining for the species globally, both in the western Gulf of Mexico, making every individual extremely precious."

The Leader:

Richard Lloyd, the Anglesey Sea Zoo consultant veterinarian, provided immediate medical advice. The turtle has been examined by local vet, Celyn Thorpe from Bennett Williams Veterinary practise in Gaerwen on Anglesey, and blood samples have been taken for analysis.

Upon initial examination, little damage was found to the sea turtle, and although dehydrated, it showed signs of being strong and is so far responding well to treatment.

Tropical sea turtles should not be found around North Wales, the only native species of sea turtle here is the world’s largest species, the Leatherback Turtle, which is common between May and September when it visits our coasts to feed on the huge swarms of large jellyfish.

Kemps Ridley are more commonly found in temperatures of 25-30 degrees Celsius and at this time of year British sea temperatures are approximately 8 degree Celsius and are far too cold for these tropical species to tolerate.

The Sea Zoo said will have lost its way whilst journeying through warmer seas further south in the Atlantic, probably due to the recent strong wind and currents, as sea turtles are known to travel vast distances.

Due to the breeding sites being directly south across the Atlantic from here, and the gulf steam travelling clockwise from south to north, young turtles in particular can easily become caught up in a colder current and get carried off course as a result.

Ms. Frankie Hobro, director and owner of the Anglesey Sea Zoo, said: “We are extremely excited that this magnificent little creature has washed up alive here in North Wales.

"It is fortunate that the turtle stranded on a beach where it was found quickly, otherwise it would certainly have died.

"Our staff are working hard to rehabilitate this turtle, and we hope that it will survive and be able to be flown back and released in warmer waters once it is strong enough - we will keep you informed of her progress. However it is early days and a very critical time so we cannot be certain yet that it will pull through."

The Leader:

The Anglesey Sea Zoo believes that the best place for large migratory marine animals, such as sea turtles, is in the wild, and does not believe in having such species on long term display.

Therefore this turtle is not on public display at the Sea Zoo, it will continue to be cared for behind the scenes in the specialised and controlled environment which it needs to be properly treated and rehabilitated.

Should it survive, it will eventually returned to the wild.