After months of planning, staff at the popular seafront attraction have welcomed a pair of baby Loggerhead Turtles which will make their new home in the Key West display at the Oceanarium.
The Oceanarium has very recently extended its range of rare and interesting exhibits by introducing an intriguing endangered species to its collection. Thanks to a collaboration with Marineland in Nice, France and after months of planning, staff at the popular seafront attraction have welcomed a pair of baby Loggerhead Turtles which will make their new home in the Key West display at the Oceanarium.
Loggerhead turtles (scientific name Carretta carretta) are registered endangered on the IUCN Red List with threats to habitat, wildlife trade, climate change and pollution noted as reasons for their decline in the wild. They have a relatively large head and a very powerful jaw which they use to crack open crustaceans such as crabs and molluscs. The arrival of the Loggerhead turtles is the latest in a series of developments to take place at the attraction since the start of the year, all of which strive to constantly enhance and improve the offer for the 200,000 plus visitors which visit the Aquarium annually.
Other developments include Crocodile Rocks - a £25,000 new reptile display - which opened in May. Crocodile Rocks is home to a pair of Morelet's Crocodiles, named by visitors as Elsa and Anna from Disney movie Frozen, which are now on display at the Oceanarium for the first time.
Oliver Buttling, Oceanarium Curator said "The arrival of the juvenile Loggerhead turtles marks the completion of a rigorous development project which we have been working on for many months. The collaboration between the Oceanarium and Marineland has been really exciting and we are delighted to bring this species to Bournemouth as part of our commitment to promote biodiversity through the range and variety of creatures on display".
The two female Loggerhead turtles - which measure approx 30-40cm in length - made the 1553 km (965 mile) journey from their birth home in France to the south coast under the watchful eye of Oliver Buttling and Sid-ne of Marineland who has been caring for the animals since their hatching in June 2011. Being two of over twenty hatchlings, a number of the young turtles have already been re-homed at other European aquarium's - but the two to arrive at the Oceanarium are the only ones from the clutch to be given new homes in the UK. The successful birth in Marineland is part of a longer term conservation programme which will ultimately see Loggerhead Turtles released into the wild.
"Loggerhead Turtles are an endangered species and we are thrilled to be able to demonstrate our commitment and support for conservation through their arrival. The Key West display is one of the most popular amongst visitors and the alongside catsharks, triggerfish and stingrays the addition of the turtles offers something new and exciting for everyone to see" added Oliver.