Darwin the giant tortoise arrives in Gloucestershire
A giant tortoise called Darwin will this month be donated to the Cotswold Wildlife Park by the government of the Seychelles.
The new arrival is part of an exciting conservation project between the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens and Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The project aims to enhance the conservation of these amazing reptiles and their birthplace in the Seychelles.
Georgia Dunlop, who was heavily involved in the project as the Seychelles’ Tourism Ambassador in the UK, said that the project was a “dream come true”. She hopes it will start a partnership between the countries which will last many years.
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These particular tortoises originate from the Aldabra lagoon in the Indian Ocean and are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES).
Darwin is 25 years old - a youngster in terms of tortoise years. He will be the fourth Aldabra Giant Tortoise to make the Wildlife Park his home.
He was named after the famous scientist Charles Darwin, who was one of the first to encourage the protection of the Aldabra species.
Jamie Craig, Curator of the Cotswold Wildlife Park said: “We are delighted to welcome Darwin to the Cotswolds and to create links between the Park and the Seychelles.”
The official handover of Darwin will take place on Wednesday, February 22 at Cotswold Wildlife Park.
10 facts about Giant Tortoises
1. Giant tortoises have a lifespan of between 100 and 150 years, the longest of all vertebrates.
2. The oldest tortoise lived to an impressive 152 years old.
3. The tortoises keep growing for 30 to 40 years until they reach their adult size.
4. Giant tortoises live a simple life, sleeping for around 16 hours a day.
5. The species is listed as endangered.
6. The reptiles can survive for up to a year without food or water.
7. Most of the tortoises living on the Galapagos Islands measure over 5 feet in length and weigh around 550 pounds.
8. Giant tortoises were hunted as food in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and sadly over 100,000 were killed.
9. These tortoises are herbivores, and spend most of their time grazing on grass, leaves and cactus.
10. Giant tortoises have been living on the Galapagos Islands for over 2 million years.
* Article written by work experience reporter Amelia Jones