Australian Reptile Park's Galapagos tortoise Hugo to meet girlfriend Estrella the first time

Hugo, the resident Galapagos tortoise at the Australian Reptile Park, will soon be meeting his long-distance girlfriend Estrella for the first time.

Estrella will make the long journey from Germany to the reptile park located in Somersby on the NSW Central Coast in a few weeks' time.

The pair first matched in 2019, but like many other relationships around the world, things were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for Hugo, taking things slow comes naturally.

Daniel Rumsey, Australian Reptile Park's head of reptiles, said given how endangered the species is, the meeting will be a massive occasion.

"I couldn't be more excited for Hugo! We were expecting Estrella in late 2019 but due to red tape and a global pandemic, her arrival was delayed. He's been looking for a mate for some time now so we can't wait to see him have a companion!"

Estrella will be spending three months in quarantine upon arrival.

Australian Reptile Park's Galapagos tortoise Hugo to meet girlfriend Estrella the first time
Photo credit: Newshub/Australian Reptile Park

Hugo and Estrella will be paired as part of Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia's prescribed species breeding programme. There are plans for the tortoises to breed within the next five years, after she settles into her new home and becomes acclimatised to her new environment.

Hugo has lived at the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, just north of Sydney, since 1963 after arriving at the Central Coast wildlife park as an infant. He has now reached what is middle age for a tortoise, 70 years old, and staff at the park say he's ready to settle down.

At 181kg he is fully grown and one of the Australian Reptile Park's most popular animals. 

Visitors to the Australian Reptile Park can see Hugo on exhibit every day of the school holidays as well as get up close and personal with him on his daily walks.

The Australian Reptile Park is a hands-on zoo located in the natural bush setting of the Central Coast of New South Wales, about a 60 minute drive from Sydney.