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(left to right) Brookfield Zoo curator Jeff Mitchell, Leena Pontikes, NBC-5 News anchor Zoraida Sambolin, Sam Peters, Lexi Reaume, NBC-5 News anchor Rob Elgas, and Maggie Defend.
The four Galápagos tortoises formerly known as Nos. 3269, 3270, 3271, and 3272 (and color coded orange, yellow, white, and pink respectively) have new names! Brookfield Zoo received more than 800 entries for its Name A Tortoise contest, and the winning contestants appeared this morning during the NBC-5 News show. And the winners are:

Maggie Defend, 5, of Chicago, selected the name Tesoro for the pink tortoise. Tesoro means “treasure” in Spanish and she felt tortoises are a treasure in nature and at the zoo.

Lexi Reaume, 5, of Frankfort, selected the name Isabela for the white tortoise. Isabela is the island on which this species of Galapagos tortoise is found.

Sam Peters, 8, of LaGrange Park, selected the name Charles for the orange tortoise. Charles was named after Charles Darwin.

Lena Pontikes, 8, of Park Ridge, selected the name Floreana for the yellow tortoise. Floreana is one of the 13 Galapagos Islands and it is kind of shaped like a cartoon tortoise head.


The tortoises at Brookfield Zoo, whose gender will not be determined until they are about 15 years old, hatched in summer 2009 and currently all weigh less than a pound. Eventually, they could grow to an average weight of 450 pounds (females weigh less) and measure between 4 and 5 feet long! They will reach full size at about 40 years old, although depending on their diet, they could continue to grow throughout their entire lives. Galápagos tortoises can live between 100 and 150 years.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who submitted an entry!