Rare Sea Turtle Fighting for Life After Washing up on Beach 4,000 Miles From Home

A rare sea turtle is fighting for its life after it ended up on a beach in the U.K. more than 4,000 miles from its usual home.

The Kemp's ridley turtle was found by a man who was walking his dog on Talacre beach in Flintshire, Wales, on Britain's western coast.

Ashley James told the BBC he initially thought the turtle was dead when his dog spotted it, but thought he would call local officials anyway.

Vets rushed to the scene as it was possible the turtle could still be alive but in a state of cold shock.

It has since been taken into the care of Anglesey Sea Zoo, where hopeful staff are working to slowly revive the animal, which has been named "Tally."

"Cold stranded turtles often die during the process of being revived and the first 48 hours of care are absolutely critical, so staff have been focussing on getting the best possible care for the turtle," the zoo told the BBC, adding that the situation looked promising.

It is unclear why the turtle ended up there. The BBC notes that parts of the U.K. have been experiencing Storm Arwen, which left tens of thousands of people without power last week amid high winds.

Kemp's ridley turtles are the smallest sea turtles in the world and are also the most endangered, according to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

They are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico, where the vast majority of their nesting occurs.

Some individuals have been found quite far away from there, though. Kemp's ridley turtles have been reported in the Atlantic Ocean as far north as Nova Scotia and even in the eastern North Atlantic, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Even so, traveling around 4,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Britain's west coast may be considered quite a journey for one of the animals.

No one knows exactly how long Kemp's ridley turtles live, but it's likely that they live at least 30 years, the NOAA states. Nesting occurs from April to July, when adult females come ashore in large gatherings called arribadas.

Cold-stunned turtles had caused alarm in Texas earlier in 2021 after the state experienced a brutal winter storm in February. It spurred groups like Sea Turtle Inc. to launch a huge rescue event to rehabilitate the thousands of sea turtles that were left unable to swim due to the cold weather.

Sea turtles usually get cold-stunned when water temperatures are too low, resulting in lethargy, pneumonia, frostbite, and potentially death.

Kemp's Ridley turtle
A Kemp's ridley turtle arrives at a beach to lay eggs in Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, in December 2007. The turtle species is endangered. Yuri Cortez/AFP / Getty