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Yokohama zoo successfully breeds critically endangered ploughshare tortoise

A baby ploughshare tortoise is seen in this photo provided by Nogeyama Zoo.

YOKOHAMA -- A zoo south of Tokyo announced that it has succeeded in breeding a ploughshare tortoise, which is on the brink of extinction.

    Nogeyama Zoo in the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, is the only zoo in Japan that keeps ploughshare tortoises. Following the hatching of a baby tortoise in May, their population at the zoo has now climbed to 11.

    According to the zoo, the tortoise's parents were taken into protection and kept at the facility from 2011, following an alleged violation of the Act on Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The mother tortoise laid an egg on Nov. 15, 2020, which was moved to an incubator and hatched about six months later on May 26 this year. The baby tortoise's sex is unknown. Its carapace, or shell, measured 3.5 centimeters. It can be viewed by the public in a tank at the zoo.

    Ploughshare tortoises are endemic to the island of Madagascar. In the 1970s, their numbers declined drastically due to deforestation and other reasons. The species have a distinctly shaped gular scute beneath their neck that extends out like a boat's bow.

    (Japanese original by Sachi Fukushima, Yokohama Bureau)

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