A 90-year-old turtle became a father at the Houston Zoo (Photo: Houston Zoo)
Father or great grandfather?
A 90-year-old turtle named Mr. Pickles proves that it's never too late to be a father.
The Houston Zoo in the United States recently announced that the tortoise and his 53-year-old partner (Mrs. Pickles, alas, what) are now the happy parents of three cubs named: Dill, Gerkin and his successors.
Beyond the fact that the father of the three did this at an extreme age, the joy is twofold, since these are turtles of a species of radiant turtle (also called a loggerhead turtle).
These turtles are in serious danger of extinction due to illegal trade in them and the destruction of their habitats around the world.
Became a father at an extreme age.
Mr. Pickles (photo: official website, Houston Zoo)
The three little turtles born to Mr. Pickle - Dill, Gerkin and his successors (photo: official website, Houston Zoo)
First litter after a relationship of decades
The Daily Mail reports that Mr and Mrs Pickles have been "a couple" since she first arrived at the zoo in 1996. By the time she arrived, Lou had already been there for 36 years.
According to the zoo's statement, the proud father has the highest genetic value among his species belonging to the program to save these turtle species.
This program is implemented by the International Association of Zoos and Aquariums (of which the Jerusalem Bible Zoo is also a member).
Be that as it may, while Mr. and Mrs. Pickles have been together for decades, she only laid the eggs once. by their keeper at the zoo, just before closing the gates of the garden at the end of the day. And thanks to that coincidence - these eggs survived. The reason: the soil that characterizes the Houston area is not suitable for hatching the eggs of those turtles whose origin is in Madagascar. The keeper quickly collected the eggs and brought them to the reptile house and the amphibians of the zoo, and there they were buried in a more suitable substrate.
Another extreme depletion in the number of these species.
One of the turtles born at the Houston Zoo (photo: official website, Houston Zoo)
The biggest threat: poachers and illegal traders
In the past, loggerhead turtles were considered the most common turtle species in the world, and their population was estimated at many millions.
But as mentioned, due to human actions, today the species is in serious danger of extinction, while many traders pull them out of their natural habitats and sell them as pets.
"One of the most troubling problems is that more and more poachers are entering protected areas to collect turtles, and the rangers there are not properly equipped to properly patrol and protect the turtle population," said a statement from one of the international conservation organizations.
Another extreme depletion in the number of these species is also due to the state of the natural habitats.
"Radiant turtles are in the most dire straits they've ever been," said Rick Hudson of the Turtle Survival Alliance.
"If we don't put a limit (to the phenomenon), we will lose this species. I can't think of another species of turtle whose rate of extinction has been so fast in modern times than the radiating turtles. This is a real crisis."
And despite all the statements, some of which were already made more than a decade ago, the radioactive turtle still continues to be threatened by illegal global trade.