NINE radiated tortoises have hatched at Chester Zoo.

Karen Entwistle, lead keeper of reptiles, said: “In the wild these tortoises are now being poached for food which, along with pressure from the pet trade and loss of habitat, has resulted in them becoming one of the most endangered tortoise species in the world. These hatchlings are therefore important and offer hope for the future of the species.”

The tortoises will eventually move on to other zoos as part of a European breeding programme designed to safeguard their future.