“Incredible birth in the Tropiquarium! We had the surprise of a baby albino among our baby Galapagos giant tortoises, a phenomenon that had never been seen in zoos or in the wild.
“Two giant Galapagos tortoises – Chelonoidis nigra – have just been born in the Tropiquarium of Servion; one is black like its parents and the other is white, it is albino. These endangered turtles were born as part of a conservation program. These are rare and exceptional births, especially for the albino baby. This is the first time in the world that an albino Galapagos tortoise has been born and kept in captivity.
“Albinism is rare in tortoises, with about one in 100,000 individuals compared to about one in 20,000 individuals in humans.”
It is a “Phenomenon of Nature,” the zoo announced. There is no known birth or existence of an albino tortoise in the wild. And it is a miracle that such a rare baby tortoise should be born in captivity, with two black Galapagos tortoises as its parents.
Albinism happens to humans, plants, and animals. It is a partial or complete lack of pigmentation. In the case of people and animals, it is the lack of production of melanin, which makes their skin white. On the other hand, plant albanism is the lack of chlorophyll, or green pigment.
The Swiss zoo was very glad to announce that their albino baby toroise is the zoo’s new mascot. With its extraordinary pale coloring and cute red eyes, the baby tortoise has been already attracting a lot of attention.
Galapagos tortoises are the most famous animals on the island of Galapagos. In fact, the island was named after these incredible tortoises — tortoise is Galapágo in old Spanish.
The sad news is that there are only about 15,000 left of these animals. These tortoises have been hunted for food and for oil to fuel lamps. It is believed that 100,000 to 200,000 of them have been killed for these purposes.
Galapagos tortoises have 13 living species, but at least two species are already extinct, such as the Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii) which went extinct with the death of the Galapagos tortoise named Lonesome George in 2012.
But Tropiquarium Zoo is a success story in Galapagos tortoise conservation. The birth of the albino tortoise and its sibling was the second hatching at the zoo. The first hatching occurred a year ago, and this recent birth was another occasion for the zoo to celebrate. In fact, with their new and rare albino tortoise, it was a double celebration!
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