Bangkok’s Dusit Zoo on Thursday introduced a pair of Aldabra Giant Tortoises, the world’s second largest tortoise after the Galapagos Tortoise, as its new addition to woo visitors.
The zoo’s new male Aldabra Giant Tortoise weighs 250 kilograms and boasts a high dome-shaped carapace 120 centimetres long, while the female weighs 150 kilograms and has a 90cm-long carapace.
Aldabra giant tortoises originate in the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. Although among the longest-lived animals on the planet – individual tortoises can live well over 100 years – Aldabra giant tortoises are on the verge of extinction in the wild. They are listed as “vulnerable” under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Aldabra giant tortoises eat grasses and leaves.
Before Dusit Zoo was opened to the public in 1938, it was a private zoo of King Rama V, who ordered its construction in 1895 and named it Khao Din Vana, a name commonly used by Thais until today.
The zoo holds around 1,000 animals and attracts 2 million visitors a year, generating Bt130 million in annual income. Dusit Zoo is in process of relocating to a new larger site in Pathum Thani province – which is expected to be opened by 2019 at the earliest.