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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Rescuer reunited with turtle
Bernard Le Tourneur and Jersey the turtle
Bernard Le Tourneur meets Jersey again after 52 years
A man who rescued a baby turtle from a beach more than 50 years ago has been reunited with the giant sea creature.

Bernard Le Tourneur, 72, from St Martin, Jersey, had to say how much the turtle had grown after meeting her again at Brighton's Sea Life Centre.

The baby loggerhead turtle was small enough to fit into the palm of Mr Le Tourneur's hand when he found it caught up in seaweed off the Jersey coast in November 1950.

Jersey now weighs 28 stone and is more than a metre in length.

I'd often wondered what happened to her
Bernard Le Tourneur
Mr Le Tourneur was helping his father to gather seaweed for use as fertiliser on the family farm when he made the discovery.

Mr Le Tourneur kept track of his new female friend as she was cared for by a local animal centre. But as the months rolled by he lost contact.

Jersey ended up at London Zoo, where she stayed for 20 years.

She was joined at London Zoo by three Pacific Green turtles. Eventually all four were transferred to Blackpool's Undersea Aquarium.

Mr Le Tourneur never expected to see Jersey again. But earlier this year he heard that Jersey and her tank-mates, Lulu, Gulliver and Molokai, were being moved to a 750,000-litre ocean tank at Brighton's Sea Life Centre.

He was thrilled to receive a personal invitation from centre bosses to meet Jersey once again.

He said: "It was really quite amazing to see her again after all this time.

'Wonderful story'

"She looks exactly the same to me, except, of course, she is so much bigger. I never thought I would see her again.

"It was very exciting when we found the turtle. I wanted to keep it at home but it was not right. I think it would have died.

"We handed it over to the animal centre and really forgot all about it until I got a call out of the blue."

A Sea Life Centre spokeswoman said: "We're delighted to be able to reunite Jersey with Bernard. It's such a wonderful story."

Mr Le Tourneur, who took part in a daily feeding talk before dozens of school children, was presented with a toy turtle to mark the occasion.


SEE ALSO:
Bernard awaits turtle reunion
20 May 03  |  Europe
Turtles move south to bigger home
30 Jan 03  |  England


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