BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 14:15 GMT
Turtles move south to bigger home
Turtle is released at Brighton Sea Life Centre
Scuba divers released the turtles from hoists
Britain's biggest sea turtles are settling into a new home in Brighton after making an eight-hour trip from Blackpool.

The three giant turtles travelled more than 300 miles through the night from Blackpool Tower Aquarium to arrive at Brighton Sea Life Centre on Thursday morning.

Aquarium curators in Blackpool decided the turtles - which all weigh more than 20 stone and are more than 50 years old - would be happier in the 750,000-litre ocean tank at the Sea Life Centre.

And the trio, who made the journey in separate vans on mattresses kept moist with sea water, have been reunited in Brighton with a former companion, Gulliver.

They are the oldest, biggest turtles in captivity, certainly in Britain, probably in the whole of Europe

Mark Oakley, Brighton Sea Life Centre

Mark Oakley, of Brighton Sea Life Centre, said the complex operation to move the turtles had started by draining their tank in Blackpool.

"Each turtle had to be carefully coaxed onto a harness and hoisted from the tank in the Undersea World aquarium and then carried out to the waiting Transit vans.

"They are the oldest, biggest turtles in captivity, certainly in Britain, probably in the whole of Europe.

"The tank they were in in Blackpool they had outgrown and the Tower owners and curator Arthur Ruffell reluctantly decided that in their best interest they needed to move to bigger premises.

Blackpool Tower
The turtles outgrew their tank in Blackpool Tower

"This tank contains 750,000 litres, it's 3m deep - they've got lots and lots of room in here."

Gulliver, a male green sea turtle, shared a tank with two other green turtles, male Molokai and female Lulu, and female loggerhead Jersey for 19 years at Blackpool Tower before being moved a year ago.

All four turtles had previously spent 30 years together at London Zoo.

Soap commercial

The largest is Lulu, weighing in at more than 26 stone and measuring 5 ft long.

Jersey, the loggerhead turtle, was named after the Channel Island where she was found hidden in seaweed in 1950. She now eats 10lb of fish a week.

Lulu, Gulliver and Molokai are believed to have been imported into Britain by an advertising agency to star in a soap commercial.

In April, Gulliver and Molokai will move again, to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.


Click here for more from Southern Counties
See also:

09 Jan 03 | South Asia
10 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes