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World's Rarest Turtle Saved After Being Swept 4000 Miles Away From Home

Nov 15, 2016 10:03 AM EST
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One of the rarest tropical turtles in the world has been lucky enough to survive even after being washed away for 4,000 miles from her home. The turtle found on the Menai Strats at Angelsey, North Wales is normally seen in the Gulf of Mexico, and now vets have kept the creature at a specialist zoo.

It's believed that Menai (her name) is either an Olive ridley, a unique species that has never been spotted in the UK, or a Kemp's ridley, one of the rarest turtle species on the globe. It's difficult to differentiate between the two species, however, both normally live in warm waters, for instance, in the area around Mexico and Florida.

Researchers are of the view that she must have been carried by the Gulf Stream along with powerful westerly winds to the Atlantic Ocean, according to the DailyMail. Currently, she is being warmed and rehydrated; however, zoo staff states that despite her positive response to the treatment so far, she is in a serious condition and it's hard to say whether she will survive. According to a spokeswoman at Sea Zoo, the turtle is an endangered species and has never been found in the UK.

Tropical turtles are commonly found in temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Centigrade and the local sea temperature at this time is nearly 8 degrees Centigrade, which is way too cold for them to survive. So experts believe that Menai must have lost her way while moving to warmer seas and it's likely that recent bouts of strong winds helped her to travel this huge distance.

Rod Penrose, a turtle expert at the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, says that an important factor for the survival of the turtle is its size. He added that this particular creature is relatively bigger when compared to other Kemp's ridley turtle. And, because of its huge size, it has managed to survive tough weather conditions, concluded Penrose.

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