First Albino Galapagos Giant Tortoise Seen to Date Was Born in a Zoo

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    A Galapagos giant tortoise baby was born with whitish skin and red eyes at a Swiss zoo, the first time an albino tortoise of this species has been observed in captivity or in the wild, according to its owner. “It is a blessing from heaven”, celebrates Philippe Morel, the owner of the Tropiquarium in Servion, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Lausanne (western Switzerland), whose visitors were able to observe the albino tortoise for the first time on Friday.

    With just 1 month of life, the turtle weighs about 50 grams and fits in the palm of a hand. The Galapagos giant tortoises (Chelonodis nigra), a species considered vulnerable, have a life expectancy that can reach 200 years.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are about 23,000 individuals in this archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The zoo owner estimates that an albino tortoise’s life in the wild will last only a few weeks, as its white skin can attract predators. But he hopes that the newborn baby in his park can grow up normally. “It is incredible to see her climb”, rejoices the owner of the Tropiquarium. “She is even more active than the other one”, replies his son Thomas (who also works at the park) pointing to another baby from the same clutch.

    This event is exceptional not only because of the color of the turtle but also because of its size, they can weigh 200 kilos when they are adults, making the reproduction of individuals very complicated, with barely 2% success in procreation. It is something that reinforces the importance of its conservation. In addition, there have only been captive births in 3 zoos in the world.

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