A pair of critically endangered big-headed turtles, who landed in Jersey after being rescued from smugglers in Hong Kong, have become proud parents.
The six births are a landmark event, according to Jersey Zoo, as it is only the second time in history that the species has been born in any European zoo.
The rare Madagascar big-headed turtle - known as 'Rere' in Malagasy - is the nation's only endemic freshwater turtle and the largest turtle species in the country.
Since 1998, Durrell has implemented conservation activities for the turtles in the wild despite the species facing threats such as the hunting of turtles and eggs and the loss of wetland habitat.
The reptiles measured three centimetres at birth, and have since doubled in size.
⭐️ It’s a first! ⭐️— Jersey Zoo (@JerseyZoo) February 2, 2023
???? Critically Endangered Madagascar big-headed turtles have now been hatched at Jersey Zoo!
???? Discover more about these rare new additions and their wild counterparts this #WorldWetlandsDay: https://t.co/HZVabuJ5hq pic.twitter.com/7TVX14QfDy
A breeding pair was offered to Jersey Zoo in 2019 from a botanical garden in Hong Kong, who had confiscated the turtles from smugglers.
"This is not only significant for our team but is also only the second time a European zoo has had offspring by this species," said Durrell’s head of herpetology Matt Goetz.
"The hatchlings here will enable us to develop more husbandry insights to advise our Malagasy colleagues at our turtle captive breeding centre in Madagascar."
The births were somewhat of a surprise for Jersey Zoo, as they "had not anticipated any breeding attempts for a few years", with both turtles having arrived in Jersey measuring just 20cm, despite the species being capable of reaching up to 50cm.
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