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NEW GIANT TORTOISE BABIES HAVE ARRIVED!

24-Dec-2013

Ten young Aldabra Giant Tortoises were imported by the Darling Downs Zoo back in September.  Due to Australia's strict biosecurity laws the little reptiles have been in quarantine for 3 months in the zoo's new quarantine station.  They have now been released from quarantine and have gone on display today - just in time for the Christmas/January holidays.

The little Tortoises are voracious eaters and some of them have increased their body weight by 50% while in quarantine.  At the moment they weigh up to 6 kilograms and all are between 4 and 5 years of age.  By the time they are 25 years old they will measure over 1 metre long and could weigh 250 kilograms.  Aldabra Giant Tortoises can live for over 100 years.

Before we imported these Tortoises there were only 15 of them in Australia, all of them mature and spread between 5 zoos.  Research has shown that the best chance of breeding this species is to keep them in larger groups and give them the opportunity to breed while comparatively young.

This is the most significant captive conservation import yet undertaken by the Darling Downs Zoo.  Aldabra Giant Tortoise populations in the wild started to decline in the nineteenth century.  They were hunted by sailors for food and their eggs and youngsters were eaten by introduced pests such as rats, cats and pigs.  Of the eighteen Tortoise species that used to live in that part of the world, only the Aldabra Giant Tortoise remains.

Our new Giant Tortoise youngsters are on display every day during the holidays from 9am.


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