Northern Ireland news

Rescued turtle still receiving treatment at Exploris Aquarium

A loggerhead turtle has been receiving round-the-clock care at Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry. Picture by Exploris Aquarium/PA Wire

A CO Down seal sanctuary last night said they were still working to raise the body temperature of a lost turtle rescued off the coast of Co Donegal.

Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry said the loggerhead turtle remained ill, days after it was washed up on a beach.

A spokeswoman said: "The turtle is still receiving around-the-clock care and the Aquaris team are still working to raise its body temperature".

It comes after a team from the aquarium made a five-hour journey to Donegal to collect the turtle in a bid to save its life.

The turtle, believed to be one and a half years old, was found by Daniel Johnstone and his daughter on Sunday and she has named the reptile "Julius Caesar".

It is believed it was caught in the Gulf Stream and carried hundreds of miles off course from its native warmer waters to the west coast of Ireland.

The turtle is being treated for "cold-stunning" with staff trying to raise its body temperature and encourage it to feed.

The aquarium spokeswoman described the find as "very rare for Northern Ireland".

"Juvenile loggerhead turtles should be in the middle of the Atlantic in warm waters where there is plenty of food, not returning to shores until they are approximately seven to 12 years old," she said.

"The individual currently at Portaferry is likely to have been caught in the Gulf Stream, travelling several hundred miles away from its home."

The aquarium said that due to its critical condition the loggerhead cannot be seen by visitors.

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