World’s oldest captive green sea turtle has spent 80 years locked in UK aquarium

Calls for the world’s oldest captive green sea turtle to live out the final years of her life in freedom are being made by campaigners.

Lulu is 82-years-old and has spent eight decades in captivity while she currently lives at Sea Life Brighton, the world’s oldest aquarium.

She's spent significant time at several zoos in the past, living at Sea Life in Blackpool for 19 years and London Zoo for 30 years but had to leave the former after outgrowing her tank.

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The beginning of Lulu's captivity is understood to have begun when she was taken from the wild in 1940 by a TV advertising agency in order to feature in an advertisement for soap.

Lulu has lived through some remarkable things in her life, such as, the Second World War, Queen Elizabeth II’s entire reign, the first space exploration as well as the invention of the internet.

Charity Moving Animals said: “It’s heartbreaking to see this magnificent animal swimming in circles around a tiny tank knowing that she has been kept like this for the last eight decades.

“Animal lovers want to see animals in their natural environments, not in tanks with artificial lighting.

"That’s why we’re calling for Sea Life to commit to a ban on turtles in captivity.

"Lulu may have lived her entire life in a tank, but by speaking out we can help stop other turtles from suffering the same fate.”

Freedom for Animals added: “In the wild, green sea turtles regularly migrate over 1,600 miles from their foraging ­habitats to reproduce and nest, often on the shore they were born on.

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“An unnatural tank ­environment can never provide the necessary stimulation or space needed for these incredible animals to thrive, and the cruelty and stress of being unable to display even the most basic of natural behaviours is ­catastrophic to both their mental and physical wellbeing.”

Sea Life said Lulu would not be suitable to be released in the wild due to the lack of "essential skills necessary to survive".

They said: “We rescue and release over 50 injured or rescued turtles every year but sadly Lulu is not suitable for release into the wild or an open water sanctuary because she does not have the essential skills necessary to survive.

“Her rehoming came with strict welfare measures and medical checks, as well as a programme of enrichment.

"Her home in Brighton offers Lulu a safe space to explore, including a dedicated beach area and numerous places to dive, take gentle exercise and rest.”


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