Giant Tortoise Breeding Program Proves A Success With 2,000 New Members Saving The Species From Extinction

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Giant Tortoise Breeding Program Proves A Success With 2,000 New Members Saving The Species From Extinction

The Española tortoise breeding program, based on the Galapagos Islands, after running for 55 years, has been able to return the species en masse back into the wild.


The program took the last remaining 15 tortoises from Española island in the 1960s to a sanctuary where the species could be saved. Found only on the island, the 15 were the last of their entire species.


The Galapagos National Park Directorate and Galapagos Conservancy implemented the release of the original group of 15 adult reproductive tortoises from Española Island (Chelonidis hoodensis) back to their island of origin as part of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).



Via a breeding program over the course of the last 55 years, there are now 1,900 tortoises in existence, and they are heading back to Española island! Thankfully, the island is now a designated safe-spot for the tortoises, where they will be able to live out their lives to the full.



As tortoises live so long, up to 150 years, some of the original 15 are also heading back to the place where they left 55 years ago. One such tortoise 'Diego' is believed to have been involved in the reproduction of as many as 40% of the living tortoises, and while he is 'only' 100 years old, he can live out his remaining decades on that island he was forced to leave so long ago.


Ecuador's Minister of Environment and Water, Paulo Proaño, said of the release into the wild:


"This captive breeding program, in addition to the management actions implemented on Española island, give us peace of mind that we managed to save a species that would otherwise have become extinct. It can only be described as successful and an example of the conservation efforts that we implement as a National Government in synergy with our allies."


While the story itself is brilliant, what has caught the eye of many news teams across the world is the way in which the tortoises were transported back to their new (or old) home. Each one, weighing up to 120lbs, was strapped to the back of a conservationist and carried directly to the site, leading to a somewhat surreal scene of men with large tortoises attached to them.


Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park, said the team waited behind for a little time to see that the tortoises were settling in:


"After the release, the staff remained for approximately four more hours, making observations of the behaviour of the tortoises as they settled back into their home."


Their new habitat is safe and even has plenty of cacti, their favourite food. The success of the program shows that what we do today will impact the world many decades into the future, which is why we should support conservation projects today before many species are lost.


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Thinking Humanity: Giant Tortoise Breeding Program Proves A Success With 2,000 New Members Saving The Species From Extinction
Giant Tortoise Breeding Program Proves A Success With 2,000 New Members Saving The Species From Extinction
The Española tortoise breeding program, based on the Galapagos Islands, after running for 55 years, has been able to return the species en masse back into the wild. The program took the last remaining 14 tortoises from Espanola island in the 1960s to a sanctuary where the species could be saved. Found only on the island, the 14 were the last of their entire species. Via a breeding program over the course of the last 55 years, there are now 1,900 tortoises in existence, and they are heading back to Española island! Thankfully the island is now a designated safe-spot for the tortoises, where they will be able to live out their lives to the full.
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