17 rare Aldabra hatchlings on display at Japan zoo

Some of the Aldabra hatchlings on display at the zoo (Kyodo)

Some of the Aldabra hatchlings on display at the zoo (Kyodo)

Shizuoka: A zoo in the central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka has put 17 Aldabra giant tortoise hatchlings on display following the success of the first natural breeding of the rare species in the country.

Last week, a zookeeper noticed hatchlings in an area where a mother tortoise had previously laid eggs. The baby tortoises measure seven centimeters in length and feed on grass, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

One of the world’s largest land tortoises, Aldabra tortoises can measure up to 122 centimeters, weigh up to 250 kilograms and live up to 150 years. They are native to Aldabra atoll in the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

According to Kyodo, the town of Kawazu’s “iZoo” rears about 100 Aldabra giant tortoises and had succeeded in artificial incubation for seven years in a row.

In August 2017, a female Aldabra giant tortoise named Aboo disappeared from Shibukawa Animal Park in the city of Tamano, Okayama Prefecture.

Aboo who was placed in the zoo in 2004 had been allowed to roam freely in an unenclosed area and had become one of the most popular attractions. Throughout her stay, she had never tried to escape. She was found two weeks later by a Japanese man and his son around 140 meters from the zoo.

The father and son who found her were given cash rewards and free passes to the zoo with no expiration date.

Aldabra, the second-largest coral atoll in the world, has remained largely untouched by humans for most of its existence, mainly due to its remoteness and inaccessibility. It is home to the largest giant tortoise population in the world.

Aldabra was declared a Special Nature Reserve in 1981 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on November 19, 1982.

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