The turtles had been living on top of the Oceanographic Museum for several years, having been gifted to Prince Albert II by the Malian President.
The princely children are following in their parents’ footsteps. Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene wanted to make Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella aware from an early age of the need to protecting biodiversity and endangered species.
On their birthday on Saturday, the twins were able to help with preparations for reintroducing 46 turtles to Senegal, to boost numbers of the endangered species there. The princely twins carefully placed several turtles into six wooden transport crates, which they then decorated.
Several years ago, Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré gave seven turtles to Prince Albert II as a gift to raise awareness of the endangered species’ gradual disappearance. 80m2 of the Oceanographic Museum’s roof had been specially fitted out to accommodate these land tortoises, the largest on the African continent. They can weigh up to 100 kilos.
Since then, having been well cared for by the Oceanographic Institute, the seven turtles have reproduced and their offspring will help boost the wild African populations. 49 youngsters were born in total, but only 46 are making the trip to Senegal.
Once they arrive at the Turtle Village in Noflaye on Tuesday, the turtles will initially be quarantined for six months to get them used to their new environment, including the climate and the food, and to monitor their health and acclimatisation. All being welll, the turtles will be reintroduced at the Koyli Alpha Nature Reserve in northwestern Senegal.