After years of searching for the one, the world’s most famous tortoise Hugo the Galapagos tortoise has finally seen his new girlfriend Estrella – albeit virtually. In a story many Sydney singles can relate to during lockdown, the pair first locked eyes over Facetime, two years after matching on dating app Tinder in 2019.

Estrella was due to arrive 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. The pair locked eyes many times throughout the call and the chemistry was off the charts, which bodes well for the eventually in-person meeting which is set in mid-September. Until then, Estrella is being held in mandatory quarantine.

Daniel Rumsey, Head of Reptiles at the Australian Reptile Park said, “I couldn’t be more excited to see the chemistry already developing. Hugo is one handsome tortoise and Estrella is just beautiful. 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 continued, “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 will have some baby Galapagos tortoises!”

Hugo has called the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, just north of Sydney, home since 1963 after arriving at the Central Coast wildlife sanctuary as an infant.  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 Australian Reptile Park’s most popular animals. Coming all the way from Zoo Rostock Germany Estrella the Galapagos tortoise is a stunning 21-year-old Galapagos tortoise. Keepers are hoping for successful breeding between the two in coming years to help bolster numbers for the endangered species.