How is this giant Galapagos tortoise unique in the world?

Hinatea Chatal Hinatea Chatal 4 mins
Albino Galapagos Tortoise
Galapagos giant tortoises can weigh up to 200 kg when fully grown and live to be 200 years old!

It is in Switzerland that you can see the very first Albino Galapagos Giant Tortoise in the world ! Born last May at the Tropiquarium in Servion, a city ​​in French-speaking Switzerland a few kilometers from Lausanne, the turtle was presented to visitors on Friday June 3, 2022 for their greatest pleasure.

An extraordinary sight to observe:

This turtle has the particularity of having the white skin and red eyes, typical symptoms of albinism. This genetic disease results in little or no production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloring, eyes, body hair and hair. In animals, albinism may be accompanied by loss of hearing and sight.

This genetic disease has no never been observedboth in the wild and in captivity, in turtle species whose shell and skin are usually black, according to Philippe Morel, the owner of the Swiss zoo where the outbreak took place. the animal barely a month old fits in the palm of one hand and weighs about 50 grams.

The owner of this special turtle thinks his lifespan would have been limited only a few weeks in the wild because of his albinism which would have attracted predators. He hopes that in captivity the specimen, of which no don’t know the sex yet, will live long. Because the Galapagos giant tortoises – Chelonodis nigra – can live to be 200!

2% birth rate only!

Unfortunately, this species of land tortoise is endangered. It is estimated that there are approximately 23,000 turtles on the archipelago of the Galapagos. They have been classified among the endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Philippe Morel said he was “blessed by the gods” to live this event of “incredible zoological interest”.

A exceptional birth in several respects: because it is above all because of their height and weight – Galapagos giant tortoises can weigh up to 200 kg as an adult! – that they have trouble reproducing. the successful birth rate is 2% for couplings. Only 3 zoos in the world, including 2 in Switzerland, have succeeded in giving birth to baby turtles of the Galapagos.

This is the first time that this species of turtle born with albinism but not the first time in the animal kingdom. Between 2019 and 2021the Wild Florida animal park, located in Kenansville in the United States, hosted 2 baby albino alligatorswhose parents were themselves born albino!

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