• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Giant Tortoise Dirk fathers eight babies in important conservation milestone

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 30, 2022

Crocodiles of the World became the first zoo in the UK to successfully breed Giant Galapagos tortoises earlier this year.

Now the zoo is delighted to share the news that they have a total of eight baby giants, all fathered by Dirk.

Giant Galapagos tortoises are the largest living tortoise species in the world and as they are an endangered species, this successful breeding is an important milestone in contributing to their conservation.

Dirk, who is thought to be in his 70s, lives with three younger females at the zoo, Charlie, Isabella, Zuzu.

Head of Reptiles Jamie Gilks explained: “The first two hatchlings were Charlie’s back in March, then we hatched four from Isabella in July, and we’ve recently had another two from Charlie’s eggs in August.

READ ALSO: Trial for Oxford van driver accused of causing fatal crash on A420

"We’ve had no fertile eggs from Zuzu yet, but this doesn’t worry us as they have only started laying eggs in the last 18 months, so it’s early days.”

Newly hatched, the babies weigh a similar weight to a kiwi fruit and will gradually grow and grow into giants of the tortoise world.

Shaun Foggett, founder and director of the zoo, said: “This is a big deal in that for a decade or more, just one collection in Europe were able to breed the species.

"The knowledge we are able to gain will provide more experience and knowledge on the whole process of breeding the species in a zoo setting.

“The timings of mating, breeding, behaviour of the adults, any diet and supplementation that we've found useful or important will also form part of this body of knowledge we're gathering together on breeding the species.”

A message from our Editor

Thank you for reading this story and supporting the Oxford Mail.

If you like what we do please consider getting a subscription for the Oxford Mail and in return we’ll give you unrestricted access with less adverts across our website from the latest news, investigations, features, and sport.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok for more.

You can also join the conversation in our Facebook groups: stay ahead of traffic alerts here, keep up to date with the latest from court here, share your favourite memories of Oxford here, get your daily dose of celebrity news here and take some time out with news that will make you smile.

If you’ve got a story for our reporters, send us your news here. You can also list an event for free here.