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Perth Zoo tortoise turns 50

One of Perth Zoo’s oldest residents, ‘Cerro’ the Galapagos Tortoise is turning 50 today. Perth Zoo Keepers are celebrating this momentous occasion with a specially created birthday cake for the tortoise.

Zoo Keeper, Emily Trainer, said: “Tipping the scales over 200 kilograms, Cerro loves his food, so there was no better way than to celebrate with a cake filled with some of his favourite treats including watermelon, kiwi fruit, pumpkin and strawberries.”

“These tortoises don’t have a good sense of smell, so they use their eyes to find food. Anything red really gets Cerro’s attention, he loves any brightly coloured foods.”

“He is the less dominant tortoise out of the two we care for, except when there is food around, then he gets a bit of speed up to make sure he eats first.”

“Cerro tends to lead a peaceful, lazy life.  When not spending his time eating, he enjoys a dip in his pond, a play in his mud wallow and he is also very smart so we do training sessions with him as well.”

“This ensures he is kept physically and mentally happy and healthy.” said Emily.

Cerro was originally born at San Diego Zoo and arrived at Perth Zoo with his younger brother ‘Sierra’ in 2005.

“Despite turning 50, for a tortoise Cerro is still considered a youngster,” said Emily.  “The oldest Galapagos Tortoise on record was thought to be around 175 years old.”

Galapagos Tortoise are the largest tortoise in the world. With less than 20,000 individuals remaining in the wild, they are vulnerable to extinction.

Main threats to Cerro’s wild cousins include introduced species such as rats, dogs, and cats, which eat tortoise eggs and young tortoises.

In the warmer months, Perth Zoo visitors can get up-close and personal to Cerro and Sierra during an Eye to Eye animal encounter, which provides a unique opportunity to feed these prehistoric gentle giants.

Media Contact: Danielle Henry, Perth Zoo Media Manager
Ph: 08 9474 0383, M: 0438 950 643

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Galapagos Tortoise
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