Does the old adage that one should respect their elders apply when your older counterpart is a different species? If so, one seafood restaurant in New York is setting a good example, after it “pardoned” a 132-year-old lobster that had been living in its tank for the last two decades, and released it into the ocean to spend its twilight years as a wild and free crustacean.
Louie the Lobster, who tipped the scales at a whopping 22 pounds when he was freed, has stood watch over Peter’s Clam Bar on Long Island from a tank inside the restaurant for the last two decades. He’s been there so long, the popular eatery’s owner Butch Yamali (who inherited him when he bought the place four years ago) considered him more of a pet than an item on the menu. In fact, after a customer offered to pay $1,000 to feast on the be-clawed behemoth to celebrate Father’s Day, Yamali declined, and chose to free Louie instead, deciding he’d more than earned the opportunity to roam wild in the ocean for the rest of his life. Yamali even got a local town supervisor to declare an “official” pardon, before jettisoning him into the sea from a speedboat near the Atlantic reef.
In addition to weighing significantly more than your average two-pound Maine Lobster, Louie is also allegedly one of the oldest lobsters to have ever lived in captivity (the oldest on record was 140). And while you might think a geriatric crustacean like him, who hasn’t been face-to-face with any non-human predators since at least the Clinton administration, might not be prepared to handle the wild and open ocean, that’s not necessarily true. According to Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, there’s nothing to be worried about. “He’ll be just fine. There aren’t many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that,” he told the New York Post.