There's more baby animal news coming from the Dresden Zoo! For the first time, nine Borneo River Turtles (Orlitia borneensis) have hatched. This is also the first of its species hatched at a zoo in Germany.
On April 9, keepers noticed a clutch of eggs on the exhibit ground covered with leaves and other nesting materials. The eggs were recovered and subsequently carefully monitored in an incubator. Then, from mid-August to early September, the babies hatched from their eggs using their egg tooth, a hard horny projection on the bill with which they crack the hard shell. Eight of the 9 hatchlings survived the first critical days; each is now being reared behind the scenes.
Also known as the Malaysian Giant Turtle, the Borneo River Turtle is the largest river turtle, growing to be up to 32 inches (80 cm). They lead solitary lives, inhabiting fresh waters -- rivers and lakes -- in Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra.
The Borneo River Turtle is considered Vulnerable in peninsular Malaysia and Endangered in Indonesia, where it is exported in large quantities despite official protection. It is threatened by hunting and poaching for sale in East Asian food markets in huge numbers. Therefore this successful breeding at the Dresden Zoo greatly aids the conservation of this rare turtle -- and what they learn can be shared with other zoos to support perpetuation of this species.