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  1. ITV Report

Bristol Zoo successfully breeds rare turtles after 12 years

There are believed to be only 49 keeled box turtles in zoos worldwide. Photo: ITV West Country

Bristol Zoo says a rare turtle it has spent 12 years trying to breed now has 3 new hatchlings.

The zoo says it believes it is the first in Europe to have successfully bred keeled box turtles.

3 turtles have been successfully hatched. Credit: Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo says the tiny turtles, each slightly bigger than a 50p piece and weighing just 12.5 grams, hatched after more than three months’ incubation.

There are just 15 adult keeled box turtles in zoos across Europe and only 49 in the world of which six are in Bristol.

The latest arrival means Bristol has more than half of the European population of keeled turtles.

Senior reptile and amphibian keeper Adam Davis says it is "quite a relief” to have finally successfully bred the animals.

Keepers at the zoo say they are relieved to have successfully bred the turtles. Credit: ITV West Country

Keepers at the zoo say they do not yet know the sex of the new turtles and it could be up to five years until they do.

Keeled box turtles are extremely rare. Credit: ITV West Country

Keeled box turtles are found in China, India and Vietnam.

Their population has been in steep decline because of people capturing them for food or to keep as pets.

Their numbers have also been affected by the forests where they live being destroyed.