Britain's oldest turtle celebrates her tenth year in Brighton.
Seventy-three year old green turtle Lulu is one of the most popular residents at the Brighton Sea Life centre.
Lulu, and her companion of more than 60 years, loggerhead Jersey, has been admired by millions of visitors during their extraordinary lives.
The pair will celebrate their tenth anniversary of moving to the Brighton aquarium tomorrow.
Lulu was little more than a hatchling when she was brought to the UK by an advertising agency and given a home at London Zoo.
And no one knows where she originally came from.
Jersey joined her in 1950, after he washed up injured on a beach on his namesake Channel island.
After several years at Blackpool Tower in between, the pair – along with two more green turtles Gulliver and Molokai – moved to Brighton.
Lulu could never be returned to the wild because of fears of “genetic” contamination if she was released back to a different ocean to where she originally came from.
When she arrived at Brighton Sealife Lulu was not in the best condition, but a change to her diet to significantly increase her intake of greens brought a dramatic improvement in her overall health.
She now weighs 35 stone and is thought to be the oldest turtle in Europe as well as Britain.
Sea Life curator Carey Duckhouse said: “Both species are endangered and legally protected now.
“These days, a stranded loggerhead would be cared for only until it was fit enough to return to the wild. Sea Life centres have rescued and re-released five over the last ten years or so.
“And bringing in a baby green turtle to appear in a TV advertisement just wouldn’t be allowed.
“At 73 she is certainly the oldest sea turtle in Britain and probably the whole of Europe.
“They have also been fine ambassadors for an appeal we ran which has succeeded in funding a brand new Sea Turtle Rescue Centre on the Greek island of Zakynthos.
“So even though their lives have been very different, there may be many wild sea turtles in the future with a debt of gratitude to these two ancient mariners.”
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