Dozens of Seal Pups and a Rare Sea Turtle Have Washed Up on UK Beaches Following Storm Arwen
Extreme weather occurrences are becoming increasingly common as the climate crisis continues to impact the environment. One of the latest events was Storm Arwen, which hit the United Kingdom hard last week with exceptionally strong winds of almost 100 mph—an event the country hasn't seen for nearly 60 years. In its wake, dozens of seal pups washed up on UK beaches, as well as a very rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle that was discovered on a beach in North Wales, around 4,700 miles from its home, CNN reports.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles are considered "the smallest marine turtles in the world and are also the most endangered." The turtle that washed ashore during Storm Arwen was discovered on Talacre Beach in North Wales, a far journey from its native home in the Gulf of Mexico. Matthew Westfield, the coordinator of Marine Environmental Monitoring in the Welsh town of Cardigan, was first alerted about the turtle on November 28. "If they get caught in a current, they can be taken into deeper water," Westfield told CNN. "What's probably happened with this one is that it's been floating around for a week or so, and then Storm Arwen hit it and then blew it onto UK waters."
Although they originally believed the turtle was dead, Westfield said it's not uncommon for the animals to go into "cold water shock" mode, which results in their entire system shutting down. The turtle, who is projected to be around two or three years old, has been named Tally and is currently being cared for at the Anglesey Sea Zoo in Wales. Tally has been placed in an incubator to offset the effects incurred by the cold shock. Of the 72 Kemp's Ridley sea turtles that have washed up in the UK, Tally is one of only 27 that were found alive.
Aside from Tally, dozens of seal pups have also washed up on British beaches as a result of the storm. Em Mayman, the out-of-hours coordinator for the organization British Divers Marine Life Rescue, told CNN that many of the pups were found malnourished with some under the birth weight of around 28.6 pounds, meaning they never had a chance to feed from their mother after birth. "These pups are often only a matter of days or weeks old, and have been prematurely separated from their mothers during the critical time in which they normally feed to gain necessary body fat," Mayman said. The seal pups that are treatable are sent to rehabilitation centers where they're constantly monitored until they're healthy enough to be released.