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Warmer seas attract young turtles to UK

Young leatherback turtles have been spotted off the British coast this summer, reflecting a possible rise in sea temperatures, according to conservationists.
While adult leatherbacks travelling from the Caribbean have frequently been found in British waters, sightings of juveniles, which are under a metre long, have rarely been recorded.

“Current thinking suggests that unlike the adults, juvenile leatherbacks are warm-water animals that have not yet developed the fat reserves and other characteristics that give the adults the ability to survive our chilly seas,” said Peter Richardson of the Marine Conservation Society. “But these recent sightings suggested that this may not be the case. The presence of these small turtles may even be a symptom of our warming seas.”

The leatherback is the largest turtle and the largest living reptile in the world. Mature males and females can be as long as 2 metres and weigh almost 900 kg.

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