The Donegal public is being urged to report sightings of rare loggerhead turtles off the Irish coast after one was found off the coast.
The young loggerhead turtle, discovered by a father and daughter on Sunday, is critically ill and is being cared for at a Co Down seal sanctuary.
It is believed the turtle got lost after being carried hundreds of miles by the Gulf Stream from its native warmer waters to the west coast of Ireland.
A spokeswoman for Exploris Aquarium said its seal rescue team made a five-hour trip from to Donegal from their Portaferry base in the early hours of Monday after receiving reports of the stranded turtle.
She described the incident as very rare.
The condition of the turtle has been described as “critical” and it is receiving round-the-clock care.
“Juvenile loggerhead turtles should be in the middle of the Atlantic in warm waters where there is plenty of food, not returning to shores until they are approximately seven to 12 years old,” she told RTE.
“The individual currently at Portaferry is likely to have been caught in the Gulf Stream, travelling several hundred miles away from its home.”
Aquarium curator Peter Williams has issued an appeal to the public to watch for any other loggerhead turtles off the Irish coast.
The aquarium says that due to its critical condition the loggerhead cannot be seen by visitors.