Leatherback Turtles now arrived

5th Jun 2007 The 1st Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea of 2007 was reported to IWDG by Jane Cotter, inside the Mouth of the Shannon Estuary about 2 miles east of Loop Head, Co. Clare at 14:30 on 4/06/07.

It was observed from the cliff top, very close inshore, and all observers were confident that it was one of the turtle species. The consensus on size suggest it was upwards of 5-6ft across. Given that adults can reach upwards of 10ft, it is unlikely that this was a mature adult.

Having forwarded this sighting to Tom Doyle, UCC, who has completed a PhD on this species, he could confirm that this is the 1st validated record of this species in 2007. It is a very early record for this summer migrant, which tends to visit our waters in high summer following jellyfish along the Gulf Streams warm waters.

As with basking sharks, the IWDG will accept records of this, the largest of the marine turtle species. Alternatively any Leatherback turtle sightings can be forwarded direct to Tom Doyle at email: t.doyle@ucc.ie

IWDG would like to acknowledge Jane Cotter for the sighting, and thank Nick from the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve for passing it on to us.

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