Popular Giant Sea Turtle Lulu set to wave a cheery goodbye to friends at SEA LIFE Blackpool
Staff at SEA LIFE Blackpool will be waving a teary goodbye to their favourite resident today (Fri 17 May), as they prepare to welcome a new turtle to its ocean display next month.
Visitors are being given a final chance to see Lulu, the giant green sea turtle, before she returns home to the newly-refurbished SEA LIFE Brighton. The popular seafront aquarium’s oldest resident made a real splash when she arrived nearly two years ago, while her home was undergoing a major upgrade. Lulu was warmly welcomed back to the Golden Mile, as she was previously a visitors' favourite at the Blackpool Tower aquarium, where older visitors will remember she lived for many years.
Now aquarists are making preparations for her journey south today. However, visitors won’t be disappointed as a new turtle is due to be arriving at SEA LIFE Blackpool next month.
Matthew Titherington, general manager at SEA LIFE Blackpool, explained: “It’s been fantastic to have Lulu back in Blackpool. She’s been the star of the show and a firm favourite among visitors. We're now busy planning her return home, after extensive work has been completed at SEA LIFE Brighton, where she will be reunited with her partner, Gulliver, who’s been staying at SEA LIFE Birmingham. Lulu has had a fabulous stay in Blackpool and we’ll have some brilliant memories of her time here. Visitors still have a last chance to see her before she sets off.”
Aquarists have even put together their top five favourite moments with the amazing 28-stone octogenarian:
Lulu’s 80th birthday party, complete with specially-created cake, made of broccoli, lettuce and leeks, her favourite food
‘Lego Lulu’, with a near full-size replica being created out of the famous miniature bricks
Lulu inspiring 1,000 sea turtles etched onto Blackpool beach to promote turtle conservation, as part of SEA LIFE Blackpool’s ‘breed, rescue, protect’ campaign
Lulu making a big splash, as she arrived back on the Golden Mile after an absence of more than seven years
A new ‘Turtle Rescue’ Zone being created to help visitors learn more about how they can protect and help care for these endangered species
Other favourite memories include Lulu watching Harry and Megan’s Royal Wedding on a specially-installed TV screen, a Christmas sprout amnesty for Lulu’s favourite food and a partnership with Booths supermarket for past-best greens for Lulu to chomp on.
Her move will come in the run up to World Turtle Day on May 23rd when a focus will be placed on the protection of these beautiful, rare and endangered species. Green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species by the global watchdog IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They face a growing range of threats, explained Scott Blacker, head aquarist at SEA LIFE Blackpool.
"Despite laws protecting sea turtles in most countries, these include being hunted for their eggs, meat and shells, a legal practice in many parts of the world where they are considered a delicacy," he said.
Plastic pollution is another increasing threat, as Sir David Attenborough has championed, posing a massive risk to oceans and marine life, Scott continued. Green sea turtles are also threatened by destruction of their nesting and foraging areas, as well as becoming entangled in commercial and industrial fishing nets.
"Sir David has really drawn everyone's attention to the massive problem of plastic pollution and the critical impact it has on our oceans and marine life. People are becoming increasingly aware of the conservation initiatives which are taking place around the world and how everyone can help to protect turtles and other marine life. For example, by reducing their use of single-use plastic," added Scott.
SEA LIFE Blackpool works closely with its charity partner, the Sea Life Trust, as part of its popular 'breed, rescue, protect' campaign, to develop and support conservation projects worldwide. These have already seen over 6,600 turtles rescued and rehabilitated.
Guests can also find out more about turtles from regular daily educational talks, included in the admission price, as well as during special behind-the-scenes tours and feeding experiences, which can be purchased separately or as gifts. Aquarists at SEA LIFE Blackpool are hoping the new turtle will arrive around World Oceans Day, June 8th, and are planning to unveil more details in the run up.