Endangered tortoises separated by lockdown share their first date via FaceTime

Tortoises in Somersby, Australia on a FaceTime call.
Tortoises in Somersby, Australia on a FaceTime call. Copyright Australian Reptile Park via Storyful
By Euronews Green
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Now that Hugo the tortoise is ready to settle down, his keepers have found him a lady friend who travelled from Europe to meet him.


A pair of tortoises in Australia had to have their first date via FaceTime due to quarantine restrictions - but it was a roaring success.

Hugo the Galapagos tortoise has lived at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby since 1963, and now, at the ripe age of 70, he is "ready to settle down", says the park.

His mate, Estrella, joined the park from Zoo Rostock in Germany. She is 21 years old but, for a species that lives well over 100 years, a bit of an age gap doesn't seem to be a big deal.

Estrella was due to arrive in early 2020 from Germany, but it was postponed until June 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Estrella will be in mandatory quarantine until September, so the keepers came up with the idea to arrange a first date with Hugo, on FaceTime.

And they were right, apparently on the virtual date “the chemistry was off the charts,” say their keepers.

Daniel Rumsey, head of reptiles at the park added, “we have always wanted to get Hugo a girlfriend to replace the ‘special’ rock he has in his enclosure, and this was a great step towards their meeting.”

Click on the video to watch the date.

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