Is Hugo punching above his weight?

Photo: Australian Reptile Park

After years of searching for “the one”, Hugo the Galapagos tortoise has finally seen his new girlfriend Estrella – albeit virtually.

In a story many singles can relate to during lockdown, the pair first locked eyes over Facetime, two years after matching on dating app Tinder in 2019.

One of the Australian Reptile Park’s most famous inhabitants, Hugo was expecting Estrella to arrive from her home in Germany in early 2020, but due to complications in travel and COVID-19, it was put off until she could safely reach our shores in June 2021.

They will eventually meet in person in mid-September when Estrella emerges from mandatory quarantine. Head of Reptiles, Daniel Rumsey, said the chemistry already developing between the two Galapagos tortoises.

“We have always wanted to get Hugo a girlfriend to replace the ‘special’ rock he has in his enclosure, and this was a great step towards their meeting,” Rumsey said of the virtual encounter.

“He’s got a bit of an extra bounce in his step now and we’re all counting down the days until the lovers can meet. “Who knows, maybe within the next few years we may have some baby Galapagos tortoises.”

Hugo arrived at the Reptile Park as an infant in 1963. He has now reached middle age (at the age of 70) and is ready to settle down. At 181.6kg he is fully grown and one of the Park’s most popular animals. Estrella is just 21 and has travelled from Zoo Rostock in Germany.

Keepers are hoping for successful breeding between the two in coming years to help bolster numbers for the endangered species. The Australian Reptile Park is currently closed due to the Greater Sydney lockdown.

Media release, Jul 27
Australian Reptile Park