Endangered turtles take flight!

“Endangered turtles take flight”

Outside plane with James and crew 2

Yep, you read that right! Last Thursday, four Roti Island Snake Neck Turtles, flew from Southampton airport to Dublin airport as part of their journey to their new home here in Co.Kilkenny.

The National Reptile Zoo partnered with Flybe, Europe’s largest regionlal airline, to transport four critically endangered Snake Neck Turtles from ZSL London Zoo, to their new home here in The National Reptile Zoo.

Outside Plane with James and Crew 3

Accompanied by Zoo Director, James Hennessy, the Roti Island Snake Neck Turtles delighted passengers and crew when they had the opportunity to take in the air and pop their distinctive long necks out of their boxes before taking off for the short one hour and twenty minute flight.

During the summer months, we will be housing the turtles in our Lost World exhibit, located inside Funtasia Waterpark, Drogheda, Co.Louth after which time they will be permanently relocated to their new home here in The National Reptile Zoo, Gowran, Co.Kilkenny.


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

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 and 10 stump-tailed macaques who travelled from Edinburgh to Southampton.

On board with James and Crew

As we are a conservation Zoo, we are thrilled to have worked with Iri and the team at ZSL London Zoo in order to facilitate the relocation of these four turtles and we cannot thank Flybe enough for their generosity and assistance in getting the turtles from London to their new home here in Ireland.

James and Iri

(Pictured above: Iri Gill, Head of Herpetology at ZSL London Zoo & James Hennessy, Director, National Reptile Zoo)

For the month of May, our spotlight is on Turtles and Tortoise around the world and to celebrate World Turtle Day (May 23rd) we will be hosting a special Turltle /Tortoise themed weekend later this month where you will be given the opportunity to learn all about these amazing creatures and you will get to meet the Roti Island Snake Neck Turtles in both The National Reptile Zoo, Gowran, Co.Kilkenny and in The Lost World, Funtasia Waterpark, Drogheda, Co.Louth.

For more information on our World Turtle Day (weekend May 20th & 21st) click here.

Once again we would like to thank Iri and the team at ZSL London Zoo and the entire team at Flybe, as well as the staff at Southampton airport and especially the crew from flight BE387  from Southampton to Dublin at 18:45 on April 27th.

Outside Plane 1 with crew and James

Until next time,

The National Reptile Zoo Team


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