Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Blinded turtle is given new home in Newquay aquarium

Homer the turtle at Heathrow Airport
Homer the turtle was collected at Heathrow Airport

A turtle which was deliberately blinded off the coast of Greece has arrived in Cornwall to start a new life.

The 58kg (128lb) loggerhead, Homer, was flown into Heathrow Airport before being taken to the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay.

He has been cared for since 2007 at a rescue centre near Athens.

Blue Reef Aquarium said he would be closely observed and looked after in quarantine before being released into an ocean life display tank.

The aquarium said that collecting Homer from Heathrow went really well. The marine reptile was flown to the UK in a heated container.

Endangered species

He was brought back to Cornwall and transferred to the quarantine area of the aquarium in the early hours of Wednesday, where it took four people to lift him.

The aquarium said: "He will be closely observed and looked after in quarantine for the next few days before we move him to the 250,000-litre Ocean Display."

After that staff will have to check on him every 45 minutes constantly for two or three days to check that he is settling in.

The aquarium said it hoped Homer would help raise awareness about the plight of his species.

Dangers include fishermen deliberately blinding the animals to protect fishing equipment.

The Archelon rescue centre in Greece previously looking after Homer believes this is what happened to him.

Homer, who is about 40-years-old, could have another 60 years of life.

He knows how to find food by putting his flipper against tank walls and guiding it to his mouth.

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