For the first time, a British Zoo has successfully bred Giant Galapagos tortoises.
Two new additions are fathered by Dirk, 70, who first arrived in the UK back in the 1960s and has been described as in “peak physical condition”.
He and mother, Charlie, 21 bred in November at Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
Their offspring will grow to an astounding 30 stone (190kg) but are currently the size of tennis balls.
The lifespan of Giant Galapagos tortoises is over 100 years and has ties with Charles Darwin who researched them when theorising evolution.
In total, the Crocodiles of the World Zoo has four adults, Dirk and three females, Isabella, Charlie and Zuzu.
The tortoises are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
In the 19th century, there were 200,000 of them and as of right now there are around 15,000.
Founder of Crocodiles of the World Shaun Foggett shared, “We’re incredibly proud to have successfully bred these tortoises, who have previously been very close to extinction.
“They are still facing an uncertain future, primarily due to historic over-exploitation and egg predation from invasive species.
“We have all been hoping for this day since the giant tortoises joined us in 2018 and it’s a significant achievement towards helping the conservation of the species.”