One of the biggest and oldest giant green sea turtles in Britain has travelled hundreds of miles to move into his new home in Birmingham.
78-year-old Gulliver the rescued turtle is taking a summer holiday retreat in the Midlands and has just arrived at the National Sea Life Centre from another aquarium.
Another green turtle, Molokai, known fondly as ‘Mo’, already calls the place home. With both turtles having previously resided together in the Birmingham attraction’s huge tropical ocean, Mo is looking forward to having his old friend re-join him for the summer.
Smaller and younger than Gulliver, Mo is nicknamed the king of this fabulous five-star tropical ocean, its 850,000 litres of crystal clear waters also occupied by black-tip reef sharks and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful reef fish, swarming over the 15-foot-tall underwater statue of Hawaiian goddess Pele.
A real old man of the sea, Gulliver’s new home is almost as far from the wide oceans as it is possible to be – on the British mainland – and yet it is also the closest to the tropical marine world of his cousins in the wild.
But it’s not an easy job transporting a giant green sea turtle across the country.
‘There are so many factors to consider when settling in a new creature, especially one as big as Gulliver,’ Jonny Rudd, Curator at the aquarium explains. ‘The team have worked diligently to ensure it’s been a really smooth transition for him’.
The National Sea Life Centre provides a loving home to both of the rescued giant green sea turtles, who have each had unique beginnings. Gulliver first entered the UK in the 1940s as a small hatchling turtle no larger than an apple, brought in by a popular soap brand to star in a television commercial, with Molokai later coming into the country as an illegally imported hatchling, confiscated by HM Customs officers over 40 years ago at Heathrow airport.
‘We’re excited to have Gulliver here with us for the summer, especially to highlight the plight that turtles just like him face in the wild,’ says Jonny.
‘Gulliver and his companion Mo are ambassadors for their wild cousins, who are coming under threat due to issues such as plastic pollution. It’s all too easy for a turtle to mistake plastic for their food and this can cause serious harm to them. It’s crucial for the future of these beautiful creatures that we keep educating people on the perils they face and what we can do to help.’
Visitors to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham can learn about the issues facing turtles and meet giant green sea turtles Gulliver and Molokai for themselves in the UK’s only 360° Ocean Tunnel. For further information or to pre-book tickets online before your visit please go towww.sealife.co.uk/birmingham/.