As the saying goes, “it is never too late.”  That is certainly true in the case of this tortoise that gave birth for the first time at the tender age of 80.

The tortoise, named Nigrita, is a Galapagos tortoise that lives at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland.  She is making a big impact for her species and her 9 adorable hatchlings will go on to help ensure the survival of the endangered species.

Although her age seems quite impressive in human terms, it is normal for her the Galapagos tortoise to give birth at that age. In fact, they don’t start reproducing until around 40 years of age.

The Galapagos tortoises are considered one of the longest living animals on earth.  So, although Nigrita is 80, she is truly in the prime of her life. Of the tortoise species, the Galapagos tortoise is the longest living and “exist on only two remote archipelagos: the Galápagos Islands 1000 km due west of mainland Ecuador; and Aldabrachelys gigantea of Aldabra in the Indian Ocean, 700 km east of Tanzania.”

Sadly the species is endangered due to over hunting of their meat and oil.  Over exploitation of their natural habitat, and the introduction of non native species of animals, have also contributed to their decline.

Nigrita is part of a breeding program at the Zurich Zoo, which will work hard to ensure her 9 babies grow up healthy and strong so they can take part in future breeding programs.

Please share this amazing story with your family and friends.

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer


Although 80 might seem old to start a family, for this type of tortoise, it’s completely normal.

In fact, Galapagos tortoises can live to be well over 100 years old!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer


Although giving birth at this age is not uncommon, the fact that Nigrita was able to have nine healthy hatchlings is something of a miracle.

Why are these little tortoises so special?

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer


The Galapagos tortoise is on the endangered species list.

Nigrita is currently in a breeding program at the Zoo Zürich in order to help her species move away from the brink of extinction!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer


Why do humans feel responsible for helping the Galapagos tortoise get off the endangered species list?

Well, that’s because humans may very well be the reason they’re on it in the first place!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer


Humans first traveling to the Galapagos Islands realized that turtle meat was perfect for long boat rides.

People also brought animals with them that quickly grew accustomed to the taste of tortoise eggs.


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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

The incredible work being done at the Zoo Zürich is a big step on the path to helping with the Galapagos tortoise’s population problem.

We wish Nigrita and her nine babies the best of luck!

Let us know what you think of this very old, new mother in the comments, and don’t forget to SHARE with anyone who believes in protecting endangered wildlife!


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