By Charles Creasey
A pair of loved-up sea turtles were treated to an underwater WEDDING yesterday [TUES] complete with a three-tier cake made of green veggies, witnesses in wetsuits and broccoli bouquets.
The ‘marriage made in an aquarium’ was complete with a real Reverend was a bid to get ‘Cammy’ and ‘Ernie’ to start mating to protect the endangered species at Manchester Sea Life Centre.
The two turtles were treated to a 30-strong reception including the Lord Mayor of Manchester Eddy Newman, where the two tied the knot and celebrated with an underwater ‘Just Married’ banner.
Ernie enjoyed 12 years of bachelor life but it was clear he was ready for a mate when he was spotted repeatedly attempting to get frisky with a large stone in the Manchester-based aquarium.
Thankfully, Ernie’s specialist carers were only too happy to play matchmaker and before long found Cammy in their list of eligible companions – a 16-year-old female living at Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre in Scotland.
While Cammy has reached sexual maturity and Ernie has proved to have amorous affections towards her, the female has yet to release her eggs for fertilisation –though the Sea Life team hope the wedding could be the romance she needs
Manchester Sea Life Centre turtle expert Emma Whittle said: “It really seemed to be love at first sight for both turtles.
“Now we are celebrating their very own happy ever after and we couldn’t be more pleased – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“The turtles were treated to a three-tier wedding cake made of green veggies, and I played the part of Cammy’s bridesmaid, carrying bouquets of broccoli –Cammy’s favourite food.
“Ernie’s best man, animal care team member Mark Eardley and his ushers, wore button holes of broccoli to honour the bride.”
The turtles were given star treatment as the Reverend David Grey blessed the turtles’ union while glasses were raised to the turtles’ health.
Emma said: “Cammy and Ernie are so popular with our visitors and are inspiring people to find out more about them, including how endangered they are.
“It is hoped Ernie’s attentions will encourage Cammy to release any eggs she might carry in the future.
“At 16-years-old, Cammy has reached sexual maturity and is likely to start producing eggs soon.
“Without male stimulation, there was a big chance Cammy wouldn’t have been able to release her eggs, causing her potentially life-threatening health problems.”
Emma explained how the first meeting between the pair didn’t go quite according to plan.
She said: “In August this year the green sea turtle ‘Cammy’ travelled more than 200 miles from her home at Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre to meet Manchester’s resident sea turtle Ernie.
“While Cammy had been seen pining for a mate by going off her food, amorous Ernie was busy making sexual advances to a rock in the bottom of his ocean tank.
“During our turtle talks at feeding times, we always try to encourage people to make little changes to their lifestyles that make a big difference in helping turtles in the wild.
“The changes can be many things, including using reusable shopping bags and water bottles to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.”