A year ago, two Cornwall council workers discovered a 100-year-old giant turtle from the leatherback species, near Par, Cornwall.
According to estimates, the animal had 100 years on the basis of its measurements (38-inch neck circumference and 7 foot and 9 inches from flipper tip to flipper tip).
The huge animal was seen by then 34-year-old James Mustoe who was on a wildlife watching trip together with his children and close friend.
This leatherback turtle is a rare occurrence in Cornish waters and this species is unfortunately categorized as critically endangered by the WWF.
Majestic Animal Found Dead on Shore of Cornwall
The carapace of the leatherback turtle was around 1.5-inches thick and they’re considered to be the fastest of all species of turtles. According to the Marine Conservation Society, less than 10 of these animals are seen in England on a yearly basis.
Mustoe reported the sighting to the Three Boys Wildlife Group and according to expert Robert Wells; the specimen collected was used to help them learn more about the animal. He recalls that the first time he saw the giant turtle; he didn’t know what to do with it.
It was the size of a small boat. Though a sad sighting, they sincerely hope that people will become more aware about this beautiful animals and how they come into our waters in the future.
What Kind of Turtle Is the Leatherback Turtle?
Leatherback turtles are the biggest species of turtle in the world and are some of the creatures with the longest life span, averagely, around 80 years. They’re named leatherback for their shell which appears like leather, not hard as it’s the case with other turtles.
This is one of the most migratory species of turtles that crosses both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. The Pacific leatherbacks migrate from the beaches in the Coral Triangle all the way to the coast of California and feed on the jellyfish every fall and summer.
Though their distribution is wide, their number has been dropping in the last century due to extensive egg collection and fisheries bycatch.
On a global level, leatherbacks, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are considered Vulnerable whereas a lot of its subpopulations are Critically Endangered.
According to Mustoe, finding this colossal animal in the Cornish waters is once in a lifetime situation. Teamwork was necessary to reach the turtle with a boat. The stranded and dead leatherback turtle was also measured and photographed.