In 1947, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park received its first Galapagos tortoises. But it was last summer before the first hatchlings of these endangered species would be born.
On the same day in 2016, the Alligator Farm also saw the first successful hatching of an Indian gharial outside of India or Nepal. The healthy male, named Makara, is a critically-endangered crocodilian native to southern Asia.
“What a year we’ve had at the Alligator Farm; last summer was such a thrill, as we welcomed these special new animals into our zoo,” said John Brueggen, Zoo Director. “Watching them grow and thrive over the course of the year has been so satisfying and rewarding. These animals are in danger of disappearing from the planet without active conservation.”
Makara, who has more than quadrupled his weight on a diet of fathead minnows, and doubled his length from 13 inches at hatch to 26 inches today, and the six baby Galapagos tortoises, who began hatching the same day, represent a considerable feat for the Alligator Farm. Captive breeding is very challenging but has been an important goal of the Alligator Farm for many decades.
A special double-birthday celebration is planned for Monday, June 12th according to an announcement received by Historic City News this week. Guests can enjoy several special deals and events. Contact the park for details.