Belfast Telegraph

Rare lost turtle washed up on Irish coast beginning to recover

The young loggerhead turtle is believed to have been carried hundreds of miles from the mid-Atlantic ocean by the Gulf Stream to the Irish coast.

A rare turtle rescued from the coast of Co Donegal is showing positive signs of recovery at a seal sanctuary in Co Down.

The young loggerhead turtle was found by a father and daughter in Co Donegal in the Irish Republic on Sunday.

The family named it Julius Caesar, because they thought it was a fighter, and staff at the sanctuary are now calling it JC for short.

It is believed the turtle got lost and was carried hundreds of miles by the Gulf Stream from the mid-Atlantic to the west coast of Ireland.

The seal rescue team from Exploris Aquarium made a five-hour trip to Donegal from their Portaferry base last week to pick up the turtle, who was at that stage critically ill and needing round-the-clock care for cold stunning.

A week on, and the loggerhead is showing positive signs of recovery, a spokeswoman for Exploris said.

She said the turtle’s temperature is now up within a normal range and it is more active and beginning to eat.

“Although these are positive signs and the prognosis looks good, it could still go the other way,” she warned.

“We’re treating the turtle with a course of antibiotics. This is as a preventative measure; reptiles generally are asymptomatic when it comes to disease and with the exposure to the extreme cold pneumonia could be a possibility.

“The animal care team are still monitoring the turtle closely.”

Juvenile loggerhead turtles should be in the middle of the Atlantic in warm waters where there is plenty of food and not returning to shores until they are approximately seven to 12 years old.

The turtle that ended up on the Irish coastline is believed to have been caught in the Gulf Stream, travelling several hundred miles away from its home.”

The turtle is not yet well enough to be seen by visitors to Exploris, the spokeswoman added.

Press Association

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