Prague Zoo has become the coordinator of the European ex situ programme fort giant tortoises

News

24. 05. 2021


Prague Zoo has received a huge acknowledgement. It will now lead a brand-new population management programme for the giant tortoise within the framework of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Prague Zoo will thus become the manager of the entire European population of giant tortoises in member zoos. It will also keep the stud book. Prague Zoo has been breeding this attractive reptile species, which specifically stands out for its longevity, since 1948.

Prague Zoo will manage the studbook and become the coordinator of the European ex situ programme for giant tortoises. This is a great recognition of the work Prague Zoo has done in the breeding of these large terrestrial reptiles. Author: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Prague Zoo will manage the studbook and become the coordinator of the European ex situ programme for giant tortoises. This is a great recognition of the work Prague Zoo has done in the breeding of these large terrestrial reptiles. Author: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

“This is a great demonstration of the confidence the EAZA management has in us. That we can run this demanding programme competently and carry out population management in accordance with EAZA rules and at an adequate scientific level based on the latest knowledge,” said Miroslav Bobek, Director of Prague Zoo. “It is also a reflection of the important position we have in breeding giant tortoises and reptiles in general.”

At the moment, there are a total of 420 of these representatives of the largest tortoises living in 81 European institutions. In the wild they live on Aldabra and several other islands in the Indian Ocean.

“The programme will formulate a long-term plan to care for the population as well as breeding guidelines,” said Ivan Rehák, detailing the next steps. “Now we must carry out the pertinent population, genetic and demographic analyses, research their reproductive and trophic biology, ecology, ethology and physiology. We will also start cooperating with partners in other regions and partners in in situ conservation.”

Prague Zoo has ten giant tortoises in its Giant Tortoise Pavilion.

“This is proof that we take the breeding of giant tortoises very seriously. It is also an impulse to intensify breeding care on a European-wide level,” added Petr Velenský, the curator of reptiles.

Prague Zoo has been breeding giant tortoises since 1948. Visitors can watch ten individuals of this species in the Giant Tortoise Pavilion. Author: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Prague Zoo has been breeding giant tortoises since 1948. Visitors can watch ten individuals of this species in the Giant Tortoise Pavilion. Author: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo