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Helen Mirren and Olivia Colman voice turtles in ‘heartbreaking’ film

Helen Mirren and Olivia Colman (PA)
Helen Mirren and Olivia Colman (PA)

Dame Helen Mirren and Olivia Colman have landed new roles – as endangered sea turtles.

The stars, both famous for playing the Queen, voice the parts for a film made by Wallace And Gromit creators Aardman in collaboration with Greenpeace.

Turtle Journey is designed to raise awareness around the crisis facing the world’s oceans.

The animated short depicts a family of turtles who face oil drilling, plastic pollution and industrial fishing as they try to get home.

Colman, voicing the family’s mother, said: “Home is the most important thing we have. A safe space for us and our family to live.

“But we’re taking that away from turtles, whales, penguins and so many other incredible animals.

“Most of us instinctively love the oceans and care about the amazing marine life that lives there, but far fewer people know how much pressure they are under.

“If we don’t act now we risk causing irreversible harm to our oceans and losing species for good.”

She said of the “heartbreaking” film: “Sadly, the story of this turtle family trying to get home in a damaged and changing ocean is a reality for so many marine creatures that are having their habitats destroyed by human activities.”

Dame Helen, voicing the family’s grandmother, said: “During my lifetime, I’ve seen nature being destroyed on an unimaginable scale by human activity.

Jim Carter has signed up
Jim Carter has signed up (Matt Crossick/PA)

“I’m saddened that our generation will leave to future generations a damaged planet which has already lost so much of the biodiversity that makes it special.

“However, we have a chance to do something now and leave a legacy of properly protected oceans to all the people who come after us.

“We can’t bring back what we’ve already lost, but we can protect what we still have. I hope this film will help to make more people realise the ocean is worth protecting, and inspires us to act before it’s too late.”

Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter, Game Of Thrones star Bella Ramsey, Stranger Things actor David Harbour and comedian Ahir Shah, who are all Greenpeace ocean ambassadors, also voice roles in the film.

Ramsey said: “The eyes of the world and of all our descendants are on our governments.

“We, individually, need to play our part but they, collectively, must act now to create positive, lasting and dramatic change.”

Bella Ramsey
Bella Ramsey (Ian West/PA)

Louisa Casson, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Our oceans are in crisis, with six out of seven sea turtle species threatened with extinction.

“Governments have an opportunity to take bold action at the United Nations this year when they meet to agree on a new global ocean treaty.

“A strong treaty would pave the way for a global network of fully protected ocean sanctuaries, placing 30% of the world’s oceans off-limits to exploitation by humans and giving marine species such as turtles a chance to recover and thrive.”

Turtle Journey ends with a call to action, urging viewers to sign Greenpeace’s petition for a global ocean treaty.

Greenpeace also published research showing ocean warming and changing currents are forcing Pacific leatherback turtles to travel almost twice as far to reach new feeding sites in cooler waters after leaving their nesting grounds.

The findings come from research in French Guiana, where the numbers of turtle eggs on beaches is around 100 times smaller than it was in the 1990s.

Conservationists say the extra energy the turtles use to get to the feeding grounds is likely to be reducing the number of eggs they lay each season.

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