Four stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles who have been receiving rehabilitation treatment at Newquay’s aquarium are returning home.

The Blue Reef Aquarium is ready to release the turtles back into warmer waters near the Canary Islands. 

The first turtle was found on Perranporth Beach in January last year.  

Two more were taken to the aquarium by volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue the following month. One was found at Widemouth Bay near Bude and the other was discovered at Perranporth. 

The fourth turtle was found at Hayle Beach in November. 

Aquarium general manager Steve Matchett said: “These turtles are washed up in an extremely weakened state called cold stunned and are very often dehydrated.  

“They are from warm waters and get taken off course by storms when following warm Atlantic currents.  

“We have followed an established procedure to return them to full health and get them ready for release back into warmer waters, near the Canary Isles.” 

Assistant curator Lara Heaney said: “Over the time the turtles have been under our care, they have steadily gained strength and grown very quickly, with some of them leaving us now at nearly six times their original stranding weight.” 

The aquarium has rehabilitated and released several sea turtles over the years, and even has a permanent resident, a blind loggerhead sea turtle called Omiros.  

The aquarium is now making plans to expand its turtle rescue facilities to be able to help rehabilitate more stranded turtles in the South West in the future. 

The aquarium says it is very important that any turtles washed up are not put back into the sea, as they will die because UK waters are too cold. 

What to do if you find a stranded turtle: 

  • Do not attempt to put the turtle back into the sea 
  • Wrap in a towel soaked in seawater, don’t cover nostrils 
  • Place in a secure place on its belly and do not attempt to warm the animal up, keep it at the same temperature you found it 
  • If inactive, raise the back end of the shell so the turtle is resting at approximately 30 degree to drain its lungs 
  • Contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue 24hr hotline on 01825 765546 
  • These rules do not apply to leatherback turtles which can be carefully re-floated if uninjured. Please check with an expert first.