Two rare turtles have been re-homed at Jersey Zoo, after being confiscated from smugglers in Hong Kong.
Madagascar big-headed turtles are one of the rarest species of turtle in the world. They are categorised as 'critically endangered', meaning they are in danger of extinction in the wild.
It'll be the first time the turtles have been on display in the British Isles, and Jersey Zoo is only the second in Europe to have them.
“So many years of dedicated conservation work in Madagascar, in one of our longest-standing projects, makes this a little milestone. I am sure visitors will appreciate seeing this magnificent species.”
“Only through the good work of the authorities in Hong Kong and our colleagues at Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens were we able to receive these turtles after they were confiscated from smugglers in 2018. This incident highlights an increasing threat to the rere – the illegal wildlife trade. Here at Jersey Zoo, these rescued animals now form the nucleus of a new captive breeding group to learn more about the species and act as education ambassadors for our Madagascar conservation programme.” - Matt Goetz, Durrell's Head of Herpetology.
The precious pair have stayed behind the scenes since their arrival last year, but can now be seen in a specially enlarged area of the zoo's Reptile House.
The turtles are not yet fully grown, but will eventually reach up to half a metre in length.