AN ENDANGERED creature has been found washed up on the Cumbrian coast.

The rare leatherback turtle was discovered dead on the beach at St Bees.

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust says the find is evidence that the Irish Sea is ‘hiding wonderful wildlife’ – and reinforces calls that it should be a Marine Conservation Zone.

“Having these majestic animals in our waters is a privilege, but seeing them alive and well is surely preferable to them being washed up on our beaches,” said trainee marine conserv-ation officer Nicola Taylor.

“Sadly it is often human influence that lands them there. Leatherbacks have a soft shell, so a hit from a boat propeller is often fatal. They can also be caught in nets both above water, or drown in our nets below.”

She said leatherbacks were listed as ‘critically endangered’ and urged Cumbria people to do their bit to help the fight to keep them in our seas.

l Report any sightings so CWT can get a better understanding of where they are l Don’t let plastic bags end up in the sea – they can easily be mistaken for food by turtles.

The turtle at St Bees was spotted by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a voluntary organisation which helps stranded animals back to the water Ms Taylor said that leatherbacks were not complete strangers to the temperate waters of the Irish Sea.

“The greener waters on our coast may seem like a disappointment when we are fed images of the crystal clear Caribbean, but, without the green, we wouldn’t have such a diverse and spectacular array of wildlife landing on our doorstep, as all the greenery that turns our waters that colour is food.”

To help to protect the Irish Sea, sign Petition Fish in support of Marine Conservation Zones at