NEW YORK — A 140-year-old lobster that was destined to adorn a dinner plate is back in the ocean after a seafood restaurant in New York City granted him a reprieve.
The 20-pound crustacean, named George, was returned to the wild Saturday in a rocky cove in Kennebunkport, Maine, less than a mile from the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush.
George the lobster was transported to Maine by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had beseeched City Crab and Seafood to allow the lobster to go free.
"We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace," said Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said the group asked the Park Avenue restaurant to return George to the Atlantic Ocean after a diner saw him at the restaurant, where steamed Maine lobster sells for $27 per pound.
The giant lobster had been caught off Newfoundland, Canada, and lived in the restaurant's tank for about 10 days before his release.
Some scientists estimate lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. PETA and the restaurant guessed George's age at about 140, using a rule of thumb based on the creature's weight.
As long as George remains in Maine, he won't have to worry about ending his life in a pot of boiling water. Fishermen are barred from keeping lobsters that exceed the state's legal size limit.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.