Baby Turtles Spotted In The Galapagos Islands After Over 100 Years!

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Baby Turtles Spotted In The Galapagos Islands After Over 100 Years!

While we are used to hearing sad stories and dire predictions about the plight of nature, there is a good news story emerging from the Galapagos Islands! The islands, sitting off the Pacific coast of Latin America and famed for its exotic wildlife ever since Charles Darwin documented the unique flora-and-fauna, have recorded the first wild-breeding of Galapagos Wild Tortoises (Chelonoidis duncanensis) in over 100 years.


After vigorous conservation efforts, the first baby tortoises were discovered on Pinzón Island, where a colony of over 500 are said to have now sprung up. However, it has only been through the most intense conservation effort that these amazing creatures have regained their rightful place on the island.


It was due to the interruption of the Galapagos Islands eco-system brought by human exploration that spurred on a disastrous decline in the number of tortoises inhabiting the island, indeed. At the same time, 15 different species of Galapagos Wild Tortoises once existed; only 11 remain alive today. Rats stowed away upon ships of pirates and whalers, first reaching the island in the 1800s from the Ecuadorian Archipelago, soon made their home upon the island and slowly but surely undermined the tortoise population by feasting upon the eggs laid upon the Island’s beaches. By the 1960s, it was estimated that there were less than 200 tortoises left alive on the island. While 1800 to 1960 may seem like a long time span, these magnificent creatures have a life expectancy of nearly 100 years, meaning that their entire population was nearly wiped out within 2 to 3 generations.


It was the fight-back against the rats that has allowed for the tortoises to regain their habitat and begin breeding successfully again. Starting in 2012, the Galapagos National Park Directorate undertook a mass poison-based cull of the rats, even going so far as to use airplanes to airdrop the poison across the island.


James Gibbs, a Professor of Vertebrate Conservation Biology at the State University of New York, who was involved in the conservation project said: “the incredible eradication of rats on this island, carried out by the park service and others, has created the opportunity for tortoises to reproduce for the first time.”


While the first new hatchlings were discovered in 2014, it is only now that it is clear that breeding of the Galapagos Tortoises has been safely reinstated as part of the natural environment with over 500 young tortoises believed to now be thriving on the island.


The story is a testament to the dangers posed by invasive species entering new environments and human encroachment into the untouched natural world. It also shows us that a species and habitat, even in the most desperate circumstances, can be rejuvenated with expertise and committed action.

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Thinking Humanity: Baby Turtles Spotted In The Galapagos Islands After Over 100 Years!
Baby Turtles Spotted In The Galapagos Islands After Over 100 Years!
While we are used to hearing sad stories and dire predictions about the plight of nature, there is a good news story emerging from the Galapagos Islands! The islands, sitting off the Pacific coast of Latin America and famed for its exotic wildlife ever since Charles Darwin documented the unique flora-and-fauna, have recorded the first wild-breeding of Galapagos Wild Tortoises (Chelonoidis duncanensis) in over 100 years.
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