The Courier-Mail

FAMILY COMES OUT OF THE SHELL

- NEIL KEENE

SLOWLY but surely this family of Galapagos tortoises is growing - and it should stick around for a long, long time.

The colony live at Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo and are a rare example of a successful breeding program for the animals.

Keeper Jordan Michelmore says the tortoises are very friendly. “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.”

Friendlies­t of all is the group’s 94-yearold matriarch, who loves nothing more than a scratch on the neck from Ms Michelmore and a soft chunk of banana on which to chew.

The female is mother to NJ, a four-yearold, 2kg tortoise toddler, and another two babies hatched last year.

 ??  ?? SLOW GOING: Tortoise babies Turbo and NJ with an adult male at Western Plains Zoo. Picture: Toby Zerna
SLOW GOING: Tortoise babies Turbo and NJ with an adult male at Western Plains Zoo. Picture: Toby Zerna

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