6th October 2023

In recent news, a stranded and in need loggerhead turtle found around the beaches of Iona in Scotland, has been released into the warmer waters of Portugal. The turtle, named Iona after the aforementioned Scottish location, had been receiving rehabilitative care since January 2022 by Sea Life in Loch Lomond and Scarborough. 

Whilst Freedom for Animals (FFA) recognises the great effort and care that has been given to Iona in her time of need, and welcomes the wonderful news of her release back into the wilds of her ocean home, we can’t help but notice the hypocrisy of this particular event. 

One of the original care team for Iona at Sea Life in Loch Lomond, Robin Hunter, was quoted in the press as stating: 

 "To be able to see her now go and live the way she's supposed to be living, that is a phenomenal feeling.”

And the animal care curator of Sea Life Scarborough, Todd Green, followed that up by saying:

"It was really strange in the fact that that was the end of my part in her journey and it was a really lovely feeling to see her go off into the big blue."

The above statements seem somewhat surreal considering both individuals work for Sea Life, a multi-million pound aquarium business which holds thousands upon thousands of individuals captive for human entertainment, many of whom started their lives in the wilds of their true ocean homes.

Because, when you remember that Sea Life - seen here praising animals being released and at witnessing the wonder of freedom - actually contributes to wild population decline by plucking countless species from their ocean homes, to end up in a tank the size of a bathtub compared to the incredible distances they would have to explore in the wild, these particular statements seem somewhat obsolete. 

FFA has long investigated the aquarium trade as part of our animal protection work, and have published numerous reports on the issues with holding animals in captivity under the guise of conservation.

More on this serious issue can be found via the link below:




Sea Life must stop taking animals from the wild to stock their tanks, and must stop breeding individuals into a life of imprisonment.

Sadly, the business model of aquariums is to generate profit - not to help animals. Saving one life, does not absolve them of the unimaginable suffering they inflict on others. We urge the public to boycott aquariums, and support in-situ charities who are doing valuable work trying to save the world's ocean inhabitants before it’s too late.