Endangered 80-year-old tortoise becomes a first-time mom

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The say “age is just a number” never fitted better than in this tortoise’s situation. While most of animal species don’t even live up to 80-year-old, for Nigrita – the tortoise, it is the age she gave birth for the very first time. An even more fortunate event thinking her species is endangered.

Native to the islands with the same name, the Galapagos tortoise are the largest tortoise species, weighing up to 900lb. They are also able to live more than 150 years. Unfortunately, back in the 70s, the species was at the verge of extinction with only ten individuals left in the wild.

For that reason, Nigrita lives at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland. Here, she’s part of a breeding program meant to bring back the species from its extinction. Therefore, the news of the giant tortoise becoming a first-time mom was more than welcomed.

With all of her nine eggs hatched, Nigrita and her so tiny (comparing to her size) little babies are catching all the eyes at the Zurich Zoo. The father – Jumbo is only 54-year-old. “Nigrita is our oldest animal at the zoo, but she is probably in her best years to lay eggs,” Robert Zingg at the Zurich Zoo, said. The newborns weigh around five ounces each, so we have to wait a little, until they’ll grow as big as their mom.

On the other hand, Diego – a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise male, takes the credit for saving its entire species from extinction. According to wildlife experts, the male is directly responsible with the birth of almost 2000 tortoise babies.

“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, director at the Espanola Heritage Park in Canada told AFP. “About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola and now with natural reproduction we have approximately 2,000 tortoises”