Going flat out to make friends at zoo - The Evesham Observer

Going flat out to make friends at zoo

Evesham Editorial 15th Feb, 2024   0

A TRIO of critically endangered pancake tortoises have arrived at a Honeybourne zoo just in time for Shrove Tuesday.

Dutch, Nate and Blueberry arrived at All Things Wild in Honeybourne from Tropical World Zoo in Leeds, almost twenty-three years after being seized by UK Border Force.

Pancake tortoises are easily recognisable due to their flat appearance compared to the domed shell structure of other tortoise species.

The tortoises are native to Tanzania and Kenya but are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union of Conservation for Nature). The underside of a pancake tortoise’s shell is soft allowing the tortoise to squeeze into crevices in rocky terrains.

The number of pancake tortoises in the wild continues to fall due to their popularity in the pet trade. Live tortoises are illegally poached from their native range on a regular basis to meet demand in Europe and Asia.

There are estimated to be less than 5,000 pancake tortoises remaining in the wild.

Animal manager Matthew Parker said:

“Pancake Tortoises continue to face a huge number of threats in the wild.

“Their unique appearance makes them a popular choice in the illegal pet trade, whilst economic development in their home country means that there is less and less habitat available for this critically endangered species.”

“Anybody considering keeping a pancake tortoise as a pet should reconsider as these animals require very specific environmental conditions.

“Blueberry and Dutch have had an eventful life having been seized by UK customs officers over twenty-three years ago.

“We‘re delighted to have them at All Things Wild where our team of qualified zookeepers will ensure they have everything they need to thrive for years to come.”

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