Tortoises unimpressed by musical serenade

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LONDON -- No wonder they're endangered.

Galapagos tortoises at the London Zoo lumbered around impassively as French pianist Richard Clayderman serenaded them Thursday with music from his latest album, "Romantique."

The music, billed by his record company as an attempt to put the reptiles in the mood to mate, appeared lost on the slow-moving giants. The tortoises didn't appear particularly impressed by Clayderman's hit, "Ballade pour Adéline," and even a rousing rendition of "Chariots of Fire" did little to lift their spirits.

They only seemed to perk up when zookeepers brought them some carrots.

Galapagos tortoises are the largest in the world and can live for over 150 years. But the gentle animals have struggled to fend off predators and are under threat.

Clayderman said that his golden retriever loved to lie by the piano when he was playing, "so maybe it's good for the animals to listen to music." Maybe. But it's possible tortoises just don't appreciate what Clayderman has described as his "New Romantic" style.

Clayderman himself seemed a bit bemused by his record company's launch stunt. "After playing all around the world -- I used to do concerts in Asia, in South America, in Europe -- it's funny to be here, in this very nice zoo," he said. -- AP

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