After getting washed up 4,00 miles away from home in North Wales, the world’s rarest sea turtle is returning to its home in Texas.
In 2021, Tally was found and taken care of by Anglesey Sea Zoo, after being left alone and nearly dead on Talacre beach, Flintshire. A group involved in the journey described the turtle’s flight as the “furthest and most complex mission”, and added that turtles also fly.
Tally belongs to Kemp’s ridley, a species of sea turtle that originated and is mainly found in the Gulf of Mexico and off eastern North America. Baby and young Kemp’s ridley sea turtles do get washed away by the Gulf Stream.
In September, Tally will be released into the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston, Texas. The US Fish and Wildlife Service called the release of Tally as ‘’a second chance of life”.
Tally was found by a dog walker and reported to the British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) after getting washed away in North Wales. The Biologists from Anglesey Sea Zoo gave her intensive care for months after realizing the sea turtle was alive.
Mary Kay Skoruppa, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Texas sea turtle coordinator said, “The cold waters of the northeast Atlantic usually result in certain death for this species of subtropical sea turtle in the winter”.
One of the first people to see Tally was, Gem Simmons, BDMLR North Wales Rescue Coordinator, when she was washed away. She said, surprisingly Tally was one of the most endangered species in the world, and she was still alive.
She added, “None of us gave her a chance to survive.” Gem also said she was happy that Tally was finally able to go back to her world.
She expects that these types of miraculous occurrences will happen more often as the threats to the ocean are increasing.
She said, “Last winter, while Tally was recuperating, there were nearly 20 turtles that washed up. The rise has been pretty sharp, and in the UK we are in the process of developing a network where we can get them back in the wild in particular.”
Continental Turtle Transportation
Transporting or flying turtles in different continents is a complex work. An international agreement between governments for such operations is The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
This pact aims to make sure that the survival of the species does not get threatened by international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants.
Tally will be transferred to Houston Zoo, on the arrival in the US. It will also be made sure by the veterinarians that she is healthy enough before releasing her into the wild. Researchers might attach a tracking device to monitor her movements if approved.
Ms. Skoruppa said, “An endangered species is one that is at risk of extinction in the near future, so every individual counts”.
Things To Do On Finding An Endangered Or Sick Sea Turtle
According to Rod Penrose, Co-Ordinator at Marine Environmental Monitoring, here are some things you should do to find a sick or endangered sea turtle.
- Immediately report the turtle.
- Take prompt action if the turtle is trapped underwater, it can drown them.
- Be careful when dealing with large, trapped turtles. They are likely to be stressed when trapped and can bite seriously or be blown from the flipper. So, be careful when dealing with them.
- Always wear rubber gloves due to possible health risks involved in handling turtles.
- Seek help if you are alone when handling trapped turtles.
World’s Biggest Turtles
Did you know that Antarctica is the only continent with no land-dwelling turtles?
There are around 356 species different species that can be found in saline water, freshwater, and on land.
The biggest sea turtles are Leatherback turtles. They can reach a height of up to 6 feet and weigh around 500-2,000 pounds. Certain Leatherback turtles have been known to grow to 10 feet.
Kemps’s ridley’s can weigh around 70-108 pounds. They can reach a height of 2 feet.
In comparison to land turtles, sea turtles tend to be big in size. Kemp’s ridley is considered as the tiniest sea turtle, even though it can grow more than 2 feet.
On the other hand, the largest living terrestrial turtles are by far gigantic tortoises. When fully grown, these tortoises can reach lengths of up to five feet and weights of up to 500 pounds. If you want to learn more about sea turtles and their sizes check out this article These Are The Biggest Turtles & Tortoises In The World!