Lancashire-based independent regional retailer Booths have joined forces with SEA LIFE Blackpool as part of their commitment to reduce food waste and promote ocean conservation.
The two businesses signed the deal to celebrate the remarkable 79th birthday of Lulu, a giant sea turtle, who is pioneering new research into the life expectancy of the endangered species. Based on Lulu’s age, excellent health and suppleness, aquarists now believe the creatures can live to more than 150 years old and possibly even 200 years – far longer than originally thought.
As part of its campaign to help protect marine life and curb food waste, Booths is donating past-best lettuce and broccoli surplus supplies, as well as some other green vegetables, such as celery and leaks, which all form part of herbivore Lulu’s diet.
Colin Porter, customer experience manager at Booths, went along to SEA LIFE Blackpool to make the first delivery. He was met by Mel Conchie, lead aquarist at the popular seafront aquarium, who guided him around the attraction. Colin also fed Lulu with the first lettuce and broccoli from the Booths supplies.
He said: “It was an amazing experience to feed Lulu and see her close up, especially on her birthday. She is a truly remarkable and beautiful creature. We’re delighted to support Lulu as part of our commitment to reduce food waste and dramatically reduce plastic use from the business to help protect and conserve our oceans and marine life.”
Booths have already removed single use plastic cups from its cafés and restaurants, encouraging customers to bring in their own re-useable mugs and cups, as well as eliminating plastic spoons and removing single use carrier bags from their tills. This is part of a range of initiatives it is introducing to dramatically reduce the use of plastic in the business.
Mel Conchie added: “We’re so pleased that Booths are showing this commitment and leadership on the critical issues of food waste and ocean conservation. We’re very happy to work with them to help spread the message.
“Ocean conservation is one of the biggest issues threatening our marine life. The partnership with Booths is a great way of highlighting this and the importance of conserving creatures, such as giant sea turtles and other endangered species, like sharks, seahorses and rays.
“Lulu loves lettuce and broccoli and we’d like to thank Booths for their generous donation of surplus greens.”
Mel even invited Colin to come back to SEA LIFE, so he can snorkel with Lulu and other creatures, such as sharks, groupers and stingrays, observing the marine life close up. Lulu, who weighs an astounding 28 stones and measures nearly four feet from head to tail, was previously a visitors’ favourite at The Blackpool Tower aquarium, where she lived for many years.
Sea turtles have roamed the world’s oceans for the last 110 million years. They are an important link to marine eco systems, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. But sea turtle populations have been on the decline. Thousands of marine turtles are harmed by plastic pollution or accidentally caught by fishing gear each year, and the beaches which they depend on for nesting are disappearing.
SEA LIFE Blackpool is working closely with its charity partner, the Sea Life Trust, as part of its popular ‘breed, rescue, protect’ campaign, to develop and support ocean conservation projects. These have already seen over 6,600 turtles rescued and rehabilitated. There is also a new educational display at SEA LIFE Blackpool, offering guests an interactive experience to become experts in the care and conservation of sea turtles, learning about the effect plastic pollution has on marine life, as well as other threats, such as overfishing and damage to habitats. As well as learning how to save the endangered creatures, guests can also find out more about turtles from regular daily educational talks and special behind-the-scenes tours and feeding experiences.