Cornwall: Leatherback sea turtle washes up on beach

A dead leatherback sea turtle has washed up at a beach in Cornwall following Storm Ciarán.

Experts described it as an "unusual stranding", while staff who work at Perranporth Beach said it was the largest turtle they had seen there.

Volunteers from the Marine Strandings Network (MSN) said the turtle was reported on Saturday and a team carried out an assessment on Sunday morning.

Data was recorded but the 1.5m (4.92ft) long turtle was badly decomposed.

It follows large waves as Storm Ciarán battered parts of the Cornwall and Devon coast with 95mph (153km/h) winds recorded in places on Thursday.

Jason Halford, from The Watering Hole pub at the beach, said he removed the turtle after it was reported by a member of the public.

He said: "We get calls to remove any sea life... I got a call there was a turtle that had been washed up on the beach - it was dead in a bad way.

"It's sad that it passed but still a fantastic discovery to have on the beach - the life that it had probably would have been phenomenal."

He added: "We've had smaller species but nothing to that scale in the 27 years I've been here."

Buoy covered in goose barnacles
Other items that have washed up at the beach since the latest storm include this buoy covered in goose barnacles

The MSN, part of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, confirmed a team had recorded the stranding.

It was described as an "unusual stranding, especially for November".

Abi Crosby, from the MSN, said a post-mortem examination would not be carried out due to the state of decomposition and they "could not pinpoint when it died".

She added about one leatherback sea turtle per year is found stranded in Cornwall, and that the creatures visit Cornish waters annually, but usually in the warmer months.

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