Five brand new Tuatara made their way into the world
this weekend after being incubated for seven months at The Roost Te Pae
Barbara Blanchard, the studbook and species
coordinator for Tuatara worldwide, and Animal Registrar at Wellington Zoo, is
thrilled with the news.
“Having hatchlings at the Zoo is a great contribution
to the national breeding programme,” said Blanchard. “Both parents have wild origins, so these
hatchlings have good genetic diversity and are fantastic news for the Tuatara
Wellington Zoo called for greater protection of
Tuatara and Kiwi one hundred years ago, as discovered in an article published
in The Northern Advocate on August 10, 1912.
“We’re proud to have been leading the way with
conservation for over one hundred years,” said Chief Executive, Karen Fifield.
“The arrival of these hatchlings coincides perfectly with our
celebration of our native species conservation history.”
While the Tuatara have all hatched successfully, their
sex will be undetermined for years to come.
“It’s hard to determine if they are male or female
yet, as their sex organs are difficult to see until they are several years
older,” said Amanda Tiffin, Life Science Manager.
“The sex of Tuatara is determined by the temperature
they are kept at during incubation,” said Tiffin. “Eggs incubated at 22 degrees Celsius will be male, and
eggs incubated between 18 and 20 degrees will be female.”
“We are fairly sure that these will all be female
Tuatara, as they were incubated at 20 degrees,” Tiffin explained. “We’ll be able to determine their sex by using
probes when they are older; so we will just wait to see.”
The newborns are now on display at The Roost Te Pae Manu at Wellington