In 1953, the Western Swamp Tortoise had been extinct for over 100 years.
So you can imagine the surprise and excitement when a 15 year old school boy named Robert Boyd took his pet tortoise to a wildlife show – and it turned out to be a Western Swamp Tortoise!
They weren’t extinct after all.
But they were extremely endangered.
And, despite efforts to protect the remaining tortoises – such as the establishment of protected nature reserves – the tortoise numbers had dropped to as few as 30 by the 1980s.
In 1988, in an effort to help boost the number of tortoises, a breeding program was established at the Perth Zoo.
Since then, the program has bred over 800 Western Swamp Tortoises of which more than 600 have been released into the wild.
Check out this amazing video of baby tortoises hatching at Perth Zoo.
Today, it is estimated that 50 tortoises of breeding age live in the wild. The Perth Zoo’s breeding program has played a vital role in the survival of the Western Swamp Tortoise. Without it, they would most likely have become extinct – AGAIN!
For more information about the Perth Zoo Breeding Program click HERE.