Watch: Critically endangered tortoise hatches at Australian zoo
Zoo workers in Australia are celebrating the births of eight western swamp tortoise hatchlings, one of the country’s most endangered reptiles.
Caretakers at the Perth Zoo have been closely monitoring the eggs for the past few weeks. So far, eight of the hatchlings have left the nest and are exploring their habitats. Caretakers hope to eventually release them to a habitat in Western Australia to help bolster their dwindling population.
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According to the Perth Zoo, western swamp tortoises are extremely vulnerable to pesticides, fertilizers, fire and land being cleared for housing and agriculture. Climate change is another threat they face, as Perth has been experiencing drier winters.
"If swamps dry too early, females may not produce eggs," the zoo said.
Feral predators like cats, rats and foxes also eat tortoises and tortoise eggs.