SINGAPORE - The Singapore Zoo received a boost to its Aldabra giant tortoise conservation breeding plan on Saturday (March 12).
Two female tortoises were given to the zoo as a gift from Mauritius to Singapore to commemorate the new air corridor that opened between the two countries last year.
To mark the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam received a painting of the giant tortoises from Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister Charles Gaetan Xavier-Luc Duval.
The two tortoises, named Casela and Coco, were from the Casela World of Adventures nature park in Mauritius. They are currently housed in the Singapore Zoo's quarantine facility where they will remain for a month.
After the quarantine period, the two tortoises will be added to an existing herd of six giant tortoises currently in the zoo's Aldabra giant tortoise exhibit for future breeding opportunities.
Aldabra giant tortoises, which originate from the island of Seychelles, are listed as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. They are known for having a thick dome-shaped shell and feed on vegetables. One of the largest giant tortoise species in the world, a fully-grown specimen can weigh up to 250kg. The zoo's two new tortoises weigh about 110kg each.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "Aldabra giant tortoises are among the longest-lived animals on the planet. Individuals can live to well over 100 years but, sadly, the species is threatened with extinction in the wild.
"They will be a great boost to our breeding programme for this charismatic gentle giants."