“Don’t worry little fella, in about a hundred years or so you will be that big too!” Picture: Toby Zerna

This gorgeous, 94-year-old, Galapagos tortoise is mom to 4-year-old NJ and 2  hatchlings a little under a year old. These 4 are the first successful Galapagos Tortoise births in Austrailia. 

Their keeper, Jordan Michelmore, recently moved from big cat care to being the keeper in charge of this tortoise family (and several over Galapagos tortoises) at the Western Plains Zoo. 

They have, as we tortie lovers would expect, taught Ms. Machelmore a lesson about the true nature of tortoises. They aren’t the dull ‘rocks with legs’ so many assume. 

“They really do have so much personality,” she said. “They’re very curious — some of them really want to know what’s going on.

“They just seem to want to be around people, so they might follow you around when you’re doing some cleaning or something like that.”

(Read More at: The Daily Telegraph, Via Perthnow.com.au

In cased you missed it, another success story is underway in the Galapagos Islands! Baby Saddleback tortoises have been found on the Island Pinzón for the first time in over 100 years!

This particular species of Galapagos tortoises was near extinction as a result of a rat infestation on the island. Measures were taken to rid the island of rats and, apparently, they have been more successful than anticipated. According to a blog post by Dr. James Gibbs, a conservation biologist SUNY-ESF who has worked on the giant tortoise restoration initiative with Galapagos Conservancy for years,

“By the end of our trip, the team had encountered over 300 tortoises, resulting in an overall population estimate well over 500, a near tripling of the population from the 100-200 very old individuals encountered on Pinzón when the Galapagos National Park was established in 1959. This welcome change, after centuries of exploitation, is a direct result of the successful captive rearing and repatriation program and now the elimination of the rats”

Fantastic news for the Saddleback tortoise, though not all inhabitants of the island have been as lucky. For us tortoise lovers, and the many individuals and organizations working to save them from extinction, its a win. The hope is that the Saddleback tortoise population on the island of Pinzón will continue to grow and find stability, like the Espanola giant Galapagos tortoises have ( one of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative’s biggest successes).  Perhaps we can make Lonesome George more than the last of his kind, make him the last giant tortoise extinction. Wishful thinking? 

Sources & Further Reading:

He (the tortoise) takes up a little space. But he’s a character, you know?” he laughs. “He loves to hang with you. They don’t do much, but they love to come over if you’re sitting in the yard and sit next to you. He’s got a little social side of him.

Animals in Clint Eastwood’s life show the tender side – Paw Print Post: A community for Dog, Cat, and Pet Owners – USATODAY.com

Clint Eastwood clearly one ups Leonardo DiCaprio as most famous tort owner. Its good to hear his tort has a suitable home and a quality personality. Never let anyone tell you these animals are boring.