Lost tur­tle set­tles into new home

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Wyn Wil­liams

AN AFRICAN tur­tle who was found 15,000 miles off course on Anglesey, has been moved into her new sur­round­ings.

‘Menai’, the first ever Olive Ri­d­ley tur­tle seen in the UK, was dis­cov­ered last month on an Anglesey beach.

Ex­perts, who used DNA tech­niques, have now es­tab­lished Menai to be around 40 years of age, and be­lieve she orig­i­nated from wa­ters near the African state of Gabon, close to the equa­tor.

Staff at Anglesey Sea Zoo have been look­ing af­ter Menai since she ar­rived on Novem­ber 12.

She was suf­fer­ing from se­vere hy­pother­mia and has been re­ceiv­ing in­ten­sive treat­ment with her con­di­tion much im­proved.

On Mon­day af­ter­noon Menai, who mea­sures 62cm in di­am­e­ter, was fi­nally moved from her in­ten­sive care sta­tion to a much larger 12,500 litre tank within the Sea Zoo it­self, with the tem­per­a­ture kept at around 25 de­grees centi­grade to match con­di­tions near her African home.

Her diet con­sits of oily fish, with plans in the New Year for her to un­dergo a CT scan to iden­tify any un­der­ly­ing health is­sues she may have.

Ac­cord­ing to Frankie Ho­bro, the owner of the Sea Zoo, the aim is to send her back home to her own habi­tat.

“Menai has sur­vived against all the odds, never has a Olive Ri­d­ley tur­tle been found in UK wa­ters be­fore. She’s around 15,000 miles from home and its been a dis­tress­ing time for her.

“But as she’s now so ac­tive, we’re hop­ing this new en­vi­ron­ment will al­low Menai to start div­ing and mov­ing around more, and may help to re­solve some of her buoy­ancy is­sues.

“It’s been five weeks or so and we wouldn’t re­ally have ex­pected her to still be alive, but she’s not only alive but feed­ing.

“She’s been get­ting quite frus­trated over the last few days and she’s been ready to be moved. She’s look­ing re­laxed now and ex­plor­ing her new sur­round­ings.”

A num­ber of lo­cal com­pa­nies have do­nated items to help Menai while a £10,000 fundrais­ing tar­get has been set to help pay for her on­go­ing care and travel back to a warmer cli­mate.

This may in­volve a visit to a spe­cial­ist re­hab cen­tre on the Ca­nary Is­lands, although a fi­nal de­ci­sion has not yet been made.

For more de­tails on the crowd­fund­ing cam­paign, visit www.just­giv­­fund­ing/menai-the-tur­tle


Staff at the Sea Zoo pre­pare Menai for her new home

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