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PHOTOS: Giant leatherback turtle found off Cornish coast

PHOTOS: Giant leatherback turtle found off Cornish coast

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 12:54pm 23rd August 2018.

A 'Colossal' dead sea turtle has been discovered off the south coast of Cornwall.

Local wildlife enthusiasts have spoken about the moment they discovered the huge deceased leatherback turtle in waters off Polkerris.

Local Councillors Richard Pears and James Mustoe, along with James's children Barnaby and Reuben, were returning from a wildlife watching trip when they encountered the watery leviathan at the weekend.

A very rare occurrence in Cornish waters, they contacted Three Bays Wildlife Group expert Robert Wells, picked him up from Polkerris and then navigated perilous rocks and waters in order to tag and conduct a thorough scientific examination of the beast in order to learn more about it.

giant turtle at polkerris
The big leatherback turtle was found in the sea near Polkerris

Richard Pears said: "When we first saw this turtle we really did not know what to make of it.

"It was the size of a small boat, something Barnaby and Reuben could have both sat on and left room to spare.

"While obviously a sad sight, I hope that the information gleaned from our encounter will help people understand more about these magnificent animals and how they come to be in our waters in the future."

giant turtle at polkerris
Two local councillors and their families made the discovery at the weekend

James Mustoe said: "Encountering this colossal animal in Cornish waters in the way we did seems like a once in a life time occurrence.

"Its sheer size probably meant it was over one hundred years old, older than all of us on the boat put together!

"It is great that we now have the expertise of volunteers like Rob from Three Bays Wildlife to contact about strandings like this - in the year since we started it, Three Bays has done a great job of pulling together local wildlife knowledge and helps us grow our knowledge of the flora and fauna that lives in the beautiful place where we live."

giant turtle at polkerris
They reckon the creature is probably more than 100 years old

Rob Wells said: "It was great teamwork. James rang me from Richard's boat and they waited on Polkerris beach to ferry me to the turtle on an inhospitable stretch of shore.

"They then helped with the photography and measurements before delivering me back to the beach."

"A big thank you to them, we can learn a great deal from stranded marine life. Of the many strandings that I have attended this was both my first turtle and the first that I have been ferried to by boat. Proper job!"

For any stranded (dead) marine wildlife, please contact the Strandings network on their hotline 0345 2012626 We can gain valuable information from strandings.

For live wildlife in distress please call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546

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