PLENTY OF FISH

Ex­perts hope lovesick tur­tle Cammy will come out of her shell with fun-lov­ing Ernie

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Linzi Wat­son

‘Your place or mine?’

It’s an awk­ward ques­tion at the best of times – but it’s even trick­ier when you’re en­dan­gered sea tur­tles liv­ing in aquar­i­ums in two dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Luck­ily for 16-year-old Cammy, match mak­ers at Loch Lomond Sea Life cen­tre made the de­ci­sion for her.

The lonely green sea tur­tle has fol­lowed her heart to Manch­ester Sea Life Cen­tre, to shack up with po­ten­tial mate Ernie, 12.

While the lo­cal staff and vis­i­tors are sad to see the char­ac­ter go, they say she has been pin­ing for a mate and the love-sick tur­tle is off her food.

But ex­perts say there is also a more se­ri­ous side to the new union. As a sex­u­ally ma­ture fe­male, Cammy will start to pro­duce eggs soon and with­out male com­pany they won’t be stim­u­lated to re­lease caus­ing them to be­come in­fected in­side her – a po­ten­tially deadly con­di­tion.

It is hoped that Ernie – who is also ready to mate and has been mak­ing amorous ad­vances to a large rock at he bot­tom of his tank – is the man for her.

Mark Hind, sea tur­tle spe­cial­ist at Loch Lomond Sea Life Cen­tre and Cammy’s carer, ex­plained: “We are re­ally, re­ally go­ing to miss Cammy, but it’s the best thing pos­si­ble for both tur­tles and we are keep­ing every­thing crossed they will find hap­pi­ness to­gether.”

On Mon­day, Au­gust 14, ma­rine spe­cial­ists at Loch Lomond Sea Life Cen­tre lifted Cammy, who weighs more than 13 stone, out of the aquar­ium’s 250,000 litre ocean tank in a spe­cially de­signed sling.

She was then car­ried by stretcher to a four me­tre lorry, com­plete with non-slip mat­tress and shal­low pool, where she had a spe­cial­ist at her side at all times dur­ing the 230-mile drive to her new home.

Cammy came to Loch Lomond in 2010 af­ter be­ing res­cued from the Cay­man Is­lands.

She had in­gested a lot of plas­tic and needed a se­ri­ous op­er­a­tion to re­move it from her stom­ach. Last­ing dam­age meant she was un­able to be re­leased back into the wild.

But it did not curb Cammy’s ap­petite and af­ter be­ing nursed back to health, she be­came well known for scoff­ing all the food in her tank – in­clud­ing the shark’s din­ner.

Sea tur­tle ex­pert Emma Whit­tle, who will care for Cammy in Manch­ester, said: “Her in­testines are very sen­si­tive, so we have had a full brief­ing on her diet and health­care.”

“Ernie is a very friendly, so­cia­ble tur­tle, he’s al­ways look­ing for at­ten­tion from our divers when they are clean­ing the ocean tank and loves tummy rubs, so we have high hopes he and Cammy will take to each other right away.

“But we also need to bear in mind there’s a chance they won’t and there could be a lit­tle ar­gy­bargy at first to es­tab­lish who’s boss, in which case we will have two divers on hand to make sure nei­ther tur­tle gets hurt.”

We have high hopes Ernie and Cammy will take to each other right away

Long dis­tance re­la­tion­ship Cammy has moved to Manch­ester in her search for love

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