The Madagascar spider tortoise gets their name from the beautiful yellow and balck web-pattern on its shell. However, they are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Thousands of these tortoises are illegally caught by poachers for either food or as pets.
These tortoises are endemic to the coastal dry forests of south-west Madagascar. Despite the availability and the efforts of conservation work the remaining populations are facing a significant threat of extinction because of habitat destruction and other anthropogenic pressures.
However, happy news was heard from the Toronto Zoo on May 2 that its first Madagascar spider tortoise was born. This was the result of the incredible efforts of the zoo keepers who, for six months, closely monitored the incubation of the egg that was laid in October.
After an extensively monitored incubation period, we are thrilled to announce a baby Madagascar spider tortoise successfully hatched on Saturday May 2nd ?This is the first hatching of a Madagascar spider tortoise at the Zoo https://t.co/ep9x6i3WZs #savingspecies pic.twitter.com/foi3onPquS
— The Toronto Zoo (@TheTorontoZoo) May 6, 2020
After the zookeepers found the egg, they made sure of its safety by moving it to an incubator. There, the egg was kept at 28C-30C. Finally, after months of close watch and waiting, the baby tortoise hatched last Saturday. They still have not decided on a name for the baby tortoise, and its gender is yet to be revealed.
The Toronto Zoo has been doing various activities to protect critically endangered species, for 11 years. It is also a member of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), and have been supporting the safety of turtles and tortoises.
Dolf DeJong, Toronto Zoo CEO, added:
This is a great example of the critical work done at the Toronto Zoo with our world class wildlife care team. This is your Toronto Zoo living our mission of connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction.
Image source: Twitter / Toronto Zoo