Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taipei Zoo pleased one-year-old giant tortoises doing well

By Tsai Ya-hua and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An Aldabra giant tortoise approaches a leaf at Taipei Zoo in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo

Eighteen Aldabra giant tortoises are doing well and have grown from 40g to 1kg since they hatched in captivity last year, Taipei Zoo said.

Adult Aldabra giant tortoises can live for more than 150 years, the zoo said in a statement last week.

The tortoises were born to Shuei Ke (帥哥) and Chung Chung (中中), a male and female that the Forestry Bureau handed to the zoo in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

They had been seized after being discovered in illegal captivity, it said.

The zoo tried to get the tortoises to mate for five years and it finally succeeded in 2017, resulting in 20 inseminated eggs, 18 of which survived being artificially incubated.

They hatched in March and April last year, it said.

Zoo workers feed the tortoises a diet of vegetables that is rich in fiber, as well as calcium supplements, while monitoring their growth by weighing and measuring them monthly, it said.

The tortoises are growing at a rate comparable to specimens in the wild, it added.

The tortoises are allowed to bask in the sun so that ultraviolet rays stimulate healthy bone and shell growth, the zoo said.

Normally placid and social, Aldabra giant tortoises are known to be single-minded in the presence of food and trample or shoulder aside all obstacles, including other tortoises in the vacinity, the zoo said.

The giant tortoises reside at the zoo’s amphibian and reptilian area and visitors can take part in special tortoise activities by scanning a QR code, it said.

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