A TINY tortoise at the Adelaide Zoo represents hope for endangered species on Threatened Species Day today.
The endangered western swamp tortoise is one of 1694 nationally threatened species.
The Adelaide Zoo is the only institution outside Western Australia to breed the species successfully. Reptile keeper Grant Husband said the breeding program was a “very big deal”, because there were just 200 of the tortoises in captivity and about 200 known in the wild.
“We’re the caretakers of that species,” he said. “Without human intervention I’m pretty sure they’d become extinct.”
The western swamp tortoise grows from the size of a 10c piece to a total length of 15.5cm and a weight of just 550g.
Threatened Species Day commemorates the death in 1936 of the last Tasmanian tiger, at Hobart Zoo.