95-year-old tortoise finds love, expected to breed at Philadelphia Zoo

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Zoo is home to a 95-year-old bachelorette.

Affectionately named, "Mommy," the Galapagos tortoise has been living in Philadelphia since 1932. However, she is underrepresented in the gene pool of her species' living members.

That's why the Zoo has invited a 98-year-old counterpart to breed with Mommy.

"Nothing really comes out of the wild from the Galapagos anymore," said Sean Martin, a zookeeper that works with the tortoises. "That's why the (Species Survival Plan) program is so important. Because you don't want them to disappear forever."

In partnership with the SSP, the Zoo expects a healthy clutch of baby tortoises to come from the couple.

"It's sort of like Match.com, or breeding for animal genetic diversity," said Donna Evernham, Curator of Ungulates and Carnivores.

The Philadelphia Zoo recently saw the successful birth of a sloth bear cub, Keematee, last year.

An endangered species, the newborn was considered a huge step forward for the continued conservation efforts pioneered at the Philadelphia Zoo.

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