The first documented albino giant tortoise has been hatched! To date, there has never been another documented in captivity or in the wild. While it’s probably not the first, this is the first one the world has seen. The zoo is calling it the first of its kind.
The hatchling emerged on May 1st at the Tropiquarium Zoo in Servion, Switzerland. On May 5th, its darker colored sibling hatched. The albino baby was born to it’s 220lb Galápagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis niger) mother.
“We were surprised to discover an albino baby among our Galapagos giant tortoise babies, this phenomenon had never before been observed either in zoos or in the wild,” the Tropiquarium said.
Albinism is rare in turtles, with approximately one case per 100,000 individuals. Compare that to approximately one case per 20,000 individuals in humans. The Galapagos giant tortoise is an endangered species. The babies were born as part of a species conservation program. Before meeting their mother, both babies were kept in special incubators and cared for by humans to ensure their survival.