Conservation of giant tortoises

Work on conservation of giant tortoises started following the rediscovery of two types of tortoise previously thought to be exinct. We started with research on their biology, and continued with a highly successful captive breeding project. The first baby tortoises hatched in 2002 and the project cluminated in reintroduction.

The day-to-day work of breeding giant tortoises

In trying to save the Seychelles giant tortoises from extinction we had to learn a great deal about giant tortoise biology. Over 13 years we were surprised to find how little is really known about them, and how much received opinion was not based on any real facts. In their natural range it is relatively easy to provide them with a good diet, although it is very time consuming. Providing the right conditions for breeding is much harder: they need plenty of space and a good social environment. It may be anthropomorphic, but it is still true that captive Seychelles giant tortoises like attention.

We provided our tortoises with all these things, and the results were rewarding: by 2009 we had produced 140 baby tortoises. This meant we became the victims of our own success, with an increasing number of tortoises needing ever more food and ever more cleaning. In order to ensure that they all grew well and received the food they needed we weighed them every 3-4 months and moved them to different enclosures depending on their weight.


We have our experience together into a booklet "Raising Happy Giant Tortoises" designed to help people in Seychelles improve the way they keep giant tortoises.