A zoo in Switzerland has welcomed a rare albino Galapagos giant tortoise. The zoo posted a “never before seen” photo of the baby tortoise on its Facebook page on Friday.
In the post, the Tropiquarium de Servion Zoo said that two giant Galapagos tortoises were born as part of a conservation program – one black like its parents and the other white (an albino). According to news agency Reuters, the two tortoises were born last month.
“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 in its Facebook post.
“These are rare and exceptional births, especially for the albino baby,” it further said.
Staff members at the zoo were surprised to see the albino turtle.
Albinism is a rare occurrence in tortoises, with one instance every 100,000 individuals, compared to one case per 20,000 people in humans. The pigment melanin, which affects the colour of the skin, hair, and eyes, is produced insufficiently or not at all, leading to the condition.
The photos of the baby tortoise are circulating on social media since being posted by the zoo.
“It’s great and what a wonder to be able to observe these two little ones evolve. Thank you for sharing. Glad to see them. Nice sequel,” wrote a user on the post.
“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. We were quite surprised by the tortoise’s colour. 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,” Thomas Morel, Tropiquarium staff member, told Reuters.