'Prince of Romance' Richard Clayderman called in to encourage tortoises to mate for Valentine's Day


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The Independent Online

Richard Clayderman, who has been called the 'Prince of Romance', has likely had many odd requests during his successful career as a musician, but surely none as strange as this.

The French pianist was called into London Zoo a week ahead Valentine's Day - in order to encourage a stubborn male Galapagos tortoise to mate.

The tortoise in question, Dirk, is thought to be more than 70. He has his pick of mates - Dolly, Priscilla and Polly, who are 17, and 13-year-old Dolores - and zookeepers hope that Clayderman could help the endangered animals get in the mood.

A huge star in the 70s, thanks to his song Ballade Pour Adeline - one of the biggest-selling recordings of all time - Clayderman is optimistic that he might be able to help speed things up for the sedate reptiles.

He said: "Music is a powerful thing, and I would like to believe it has a positive effect on animals, as well as us. It certainly is an experience to play in such a well known and romantic place as London Zoo."

Scientists have previously suggested that music may have an effect on animal behaviour, and some farmers have claimed that classical music has helped to increase the yield of milk and eggs in their livestock.