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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Bumper year for baby tortoises
Baby tortoises
The sanctuary has never hatched so many baby tortoises before
A record number of baby tortoises have been hatched at a south Wales animal sanctuary.

Sixty five babies have been born at the Sully Tortoise Sanctuary this year.

Ann and Jack Ovenstone, who run the centre from their home, said they have never had so many hatchlings during the 15 years they have been running.

The babies, which were hatched after the eggs were incubated, could live for more than 100 years.

It has definitely been a record for us
Ann Ovenstone

Ms Ovenstone, who runs the sanctuary said it had been a bumper year for breeding.

"It has definitely been a record for us, every year we hatch quite a number of tortoises," she said.

"Last year we had 46 but this year was 65.

"They are very sweet - like miniature adults and are quite independent but we have to keep an eye on them.

"They need to have the right temperature and uv lights and they do clamber over one another and sometime flip over so we have to make sure we put them the right way around again," she said.

Breeding

The couple run the breeding programme as a way of trying to combat the problem of the endangered species from being stolen from their native habitats to be sold in the UK.

They already look after 240 tortoises and say that they will keep the 65 babies for a year to monitor their growth before they are sold.

"We make sure that we only sell them to people who know how to look after them," said Ms Ovenstone, who was awarded an MBE for her services to chelonians - tortoises, terrapins and turtles.

Ms Ovenstone said that she has been fascinated by the creature since being a child.

"They have been the same since the dinosaur age and I learn something new about them nearly every day," she added.


SEE ALSO:
Tortoise takes three-month trip
01 Sep 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Spain fires claim rare tortoises
09 Aug 04  |  Europe


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