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Dead turtles wash ashore

Two dead loggerhead turtles washed up in Gibraltar over the festive period, highlighting the diversity of the waters around the Rock but also the dangers faced by marine animals.

Officers from the Environmental Protection and Research Unit of the Department of the Environment and Climate Change (DECC) found the turtles on Eastern Beach and Catalan Bay.

The first loggerhead was still alive when it was discovered but died soon afterwards.

An investigation by the environmental officers suggests the animal had swallowed fishing gear used by long-line fishermen.

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The cause of death of the second sea turtle is believed to have been a collision with a vessel.

It had been floating at sea for some time and was in a bad state when it washed ashore, according to a statement from DECC.

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Loggerheads are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean, nesting on beaches from Greece and Turkey to Israel and Libya.

However, many of their nesting beaches are under threat from tourism development.

Loggerheads are also highly migratory and are particularly vulnerable to accidental capture in the nets and long-lines of the world's fisheries.

During the holiday period, the DECC team also attended to a razorbill found on Sand Bay.

The data gathered from these incidents will be added to the DECC’s marine monitoring programme.