Endangered leatherback turtle found dead on Aberdeenshire beach

Volunteers Joe Hibbs and Isla Smith found the turtle on the Aberdeenshire coast. Picture: Andy Thompson

Volunteers Joe Hibbs and Isla Smith found the turtle on the Aberdeenshire coast. Picture: Andy Thompson

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A RARE leatherback sea turtle has washed up dead on an Aberdeenshire beach.

The reptile was found at the St Cyrus nature reserve on Friday.

The breed is critically endangered, with an estimated 26,000-40,000 breeding females around the world - down from more than 100,000 in 1980.

Leatherback turtles are found across the world but are rarely seen in the seas around the north-east of Scotland, with most sightings being made from Orkney and the Western Isles.

Volunteers alerted experts at the Scotland’s Rural College and used a quad bike to remove the turtle from the beach on Friday.

It is unclear how the reptile died.

A number of sea animals have been found dead on Scotland’s coastline in the wake of Storm Frank.

The turtles are listed by IUCN as vulnerable as a species, but many sub-populations are classed as critically endangered.

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