Switzerland Zoo Announces Birth of Rare Albino Giant Galapagos Tortoise: 'Phenomenon of Nature'

·2 min read
A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby, born on May 1, at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.
A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby, born on May 1, at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty

A Switzerland zoo is introducing a "new phenomenon of nature" at its facility.

On Thursday, the Tropiquarium Zoo in Servion, Switzerland, announced it recently welcomed two baby giant Galapagos tortoises. One tortoise has darker coloring, like its parents, and one has albinism — a rarity for the species. The sex of the baby tortoises has yet to be determined.

"Incredible birth in the Tropiquarium! We had the surprise of a baby albino among our baby Galapagos giant tortoises, a phenomenon that had never been seen in zoos or in the wild," the zoo said on social media, alongside photos of the rare tortoise.

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A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby on the back of another turtle, both born in early May at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.
A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby on the back of another turtle, both born in early May at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty

"These endangered turtles were born as part of a conservation program. These are rare and exceptional births, especially for the albino baby. This is the first time in the world that an albino Galapagos tortoise has been born and kept in captivity," the facility added. "Albinism is rare in tortoises with about one in 100,000 individuals compared to about one in 20,000 individuals in humans."

The zoo said the tortoises have settled into their new homes and are "doing well and very energetic." The rare albino tortoise is out on exhibit, so zoo guests can meet the unique creature.

"With his red eyes and white shell, he's the new Swiss mascot," the zoo said.

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A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby, born on May 1, next to its mother at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.
A picture taken on June 3, 2022 shows a unique albinos Galapagos giant tortoise baby, born on May 1, next to its mother at the Tropicarium of Servion, western Switzerland. - Albinos Galapagos tortoises have never been observed in captivity or in the nature. The Galapagos giant tortoises are strictly protected and are among the most endangered species among CITES-listed animals.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty

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The albino baby hatched on May 1 after its mother laid five eggs on Feb. 11, Reuters reported. The other baby hatched on May 5. According to the zoo, the species has a low success rate for reproduction.

"After several months of incubation, we had the chance to see the first hatching, it was the second hatching in the Servion's Tropiquarium, we already had one last year, this is the second," Thomas Morel, a Tropiquarium staff member, told the outlet. "We were quite surprised by the tortoise's color. It can happen at birth, but after two days, we were sure it was an albino when it pointed the tip of its head, so it was really surprising for this species, it's quite extraordinary."