Critically endangered 'snake neck' turtles catch a flight to make Kilkenny their new home

Sam Matthews

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Sam Matthews

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Critically endangered 'snake neck' turtles catch a flight to make Kilkenny their new home

Rare turtles as they prepare to leave for Ireland.

Four critically engangered ‘snake neck’ turtles will soon make Kilkenny their new home after flying in from London Zoo last week.

The special passengers were on board the 18.45 flight from Southampton to Dublin with Flybe last Thursday on the final part of their journey to The National Reptile Zoo in Gowran. Accompanied by Zoo Director James Hennessy, the Roti Island Snake Neck Turtles delighted cabin crew and passengers when they had the opportunity to pop their distinctive long necks out and take in their surroundings prior to departure.

Roti Island Snake Neck Turtles (Chelodina mccordi) are red-listed as critically endangered. This species occurs in three separate populations covering an area of just 70 km² on Roti Island, a small Indonesian island that lies just 311 miles off the coast of Australia.

During the summer months, the National Reptile Zoo will house the turtles at their Lost World exhibit located inside Funtasia in Drogheda, after which they will permanently relocate to their new home in Kilkenny.

“As we are a conservation zoo, we are thrilled to be welcoming these critically endangered turtles to our Zoo and we would like to thank the team at Flybe for their support in making the transport of these turtles as easy and trouble-free as possible,” said James Hennessy.

Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe’s cargo operation is no stranger to transporting rare species with previous special passengers having included ospreys, seals, Blondie the albino hedgehog who was flown to Guernsey; a sextet of rare Australian ‘big belly’ seahorses to the Deep Sea World Aquarium in Edinburgh.

“We are always pleased to help transport such precious cargo and so were happy to assist the National Reptile Zoo in ensuring that these VIP turtles could travel as quickly and safely as possible over to their new home Ireland,” says Flybe Director of Customer Care, Jonathan Breedon.