Phoenix was bred for the food industry in the Far East, where turtle soup is considered a delicacy. Three years on she is enjoying a spruce-up and annual weigh-in to mark World Turtle Day.
Weighing in at 112kg and measuring more than three-feet long and two-feet wide, Phoenix is the heaviest creature to live at SEA LIFE Blackpool.
The 23-year old creature resides in the 500,000-litre Ocean tank and shares her home with more than 200 other creatures. The tank is home to four shark species – nurse sharks, blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and zebra sharks – all of whom live peacefully together in this tropical oasis.
The global population of green sea turtles is in decline and they are listed as an endangered species by the global watchdog IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Working closely with its charity partner, the SEA LIFE Trust, SEA LIFE develops and supports conservation projects worldwide. They are then able to provide long-term homes for turtles who may have faced threats of egg-poaching, the food industry, plastic pollution and entanglement in fishing nets. The trust has already seen over 6,600 turtles rescued and rehabilitated across the globe, include Blackpool’s very own Phoenix.
Visitors to SEA LIFE Blackpool can come face to fin with Phoenix, with regular educational talks held by aquarists and special feeding experiences.
Scott Blacker, Curator at SEA LIFE Blackpool, said: “World Turtle Day is a key day in our conservation calendar and it’s important that we continue to raise awareness of this beautiful – but highly endangered – species.
“Phoenix is now synonymous with SEA LIFE Blackpool and has developed quite the fan base with returning visitors often heading straight to the ocean tank hoping to get a close-up look at her.
“The team here works incredibly hard to make sure she is kept in optimal health all year round, so it’s fantastic to see her flourish and come in at a healthy weight. “Within her lifespan, she’s technically only a teenager, so it’s likely she’ll outlive us all and reach around 150 years old, which the average life expectancy for her species!
“Giving creatures like Phoenix a forever home is at the core of we do and is why we exist, not only to educate and raise awareness of these amazing animals but to protect them from the dangers they’re likely to experience in the wild.
“We’d encourage people to look into how they can support endangered turtles and, of course, drop in and help us feed Phoenix!”