Three critically endangered big-headed turtles have hatched at London Zoo, which has been described as a miracle for the endangered turtle.
Just a few years ago, their parents were in the hands of smugglers who tried to smuggle them into Canada.
They then settled into a new home at London Zoo (UK). The parent turtles (two males and two females) were slowly introduced to each other. Three years later, they finally mate and had new offsprings.
They are threatened by hunting for meat and the international pet trade and are classified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The heads of early tortoises are so big that they cannot retract them into their shells.
They have plated armor from head to tail and very sharp beaks to fend off predators.
“They represent an essential and unique branch of the evolutionary tree and have much to teach us about animal adaptation.”
“There’s really no other species like them on Earth.”
Zoological Society of London (ZSL) reptile keeper Kimberley Carter said: ‘We’ve got the expertise at ZSL London Zoo to give this solitary species the special care they need, and we satisfied that this dedicated work has paid off with these three hatchlings. ‘