We are very sad to share that due to developing a severe and untreatable infection, our baby Galapagos tortoise Pinta has had to be euthanased.

Pinta hatched pre-maturely last December, with abnormal shell development of her plastron (the underside part of the tortoise shell), including the area which had been attached to the umbilical cord when she was inside the shell. Despite this problem she ate well and had started to grow.  Unfortunately part of this abnormal shell area did not heal properly and allowed severe infection to invade the shell and internal organs. 

“Along with our ectotherm keepers, my veterinary colleagues and I monitored her very closely as she grew. We were encouraged to see her eating, growing and moving well. Once we saw the infected area of shell we began to investigate, including Xrays, a CT scan and endoscopy” says the Zoo’s Veterinary Manager, Dr James Chatterton.  “Unfortunately the infection had tracked through the abnormal shell and into her abdomen. This severe infection was sadly not treatable and so euthanasia was the necessary and kindest decision”.

Our Curator of Ectotherms and Birds, Richard Gibson, says he and his team are incredibly sad to lose the Zoo’s first precious Galapagos tortoise but also hopeful that parents Chippie and Smiley could produce healthy offspring in the future.

“Because Pinta was premature we knew this could potentially decrease her chance of survival as there have been other similar cases in zoos overseas, but it’s always tough when it happens,” says Richard.

“Mum Chippie and dad Smiley are only in their forties, which is very young in Galapagos years. Now that they have successfully produced one fertile egg, there is nothing to stop them producing more in the future, and we are ever hopeful that this will be the case.”