Beautiful All-Black Galapagos Tortoise Is Born At A Specialist Breeding Centre In Florida

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Beautiful All Black Galapagos Tortoise Is Born At A Specialist Breeding Centre In Florida

The Three Jays Tortoise Sanctuary in Florida is perhaps the largest breeding centre of Galapagos tortoises in the United States and has so far helped bring 100 of the endangered species into the world. One of their most recent arrivals has been causing a stir, an all-black baby Galapagos tortoise.

The images of the tiny adorable creature were shared online and soon went viral. The little fellow is so small he fits in the palm of your hand. Full-grown Galapagos tortoises can weigh up to 500kg.

Native to the Galapagos islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile, the tortoises have come under serious threat of extinction over the last few centuries. Documented by biologist Charles Darwin on his famous expedition to the islands, it is believed that as many as 200,000 were killed off before the start of the 20th century. This was largely due to their slow movement and few natural defences against human predators. The tortoises were of particular value because they could be placed on ships without food or water and live for up to a year, meaning ships travelling thousands of miles to and from the Galapagos islands had an easy source of meat. The nests of the tortoises were also heavily impacted by the arrival of pigs and dogs at the island, as these animals would trample on or eat the tortoise eggs.

By the 1960s, breeding programs had been established to help protect tortoise numbers and several laws have now been put in place to defend both the tortoises and their territory. The Three Jays Tortoise Sanctuary is just one of the many breeding programs across the world. They state their mission on their website:

"Three Jays Tortoise Sanctuary, a FWC and USDA licensed and insured private (and possibly the largest) Galapagos tortoise captive breeding facility in the United States, is one of the few recognized for its reptile conservation contributions toward helping the critically endangered Galapagos tortoise, Geochelone nigra. At any moment, natural disaster, invasive species or disease, or other events could wipe out an entire island, making critically endangered island species even more susceptible to extinction. Three Jays emphasizes and represents the importance of captive assurance colonies, especially for island dwelling creatures."

Thanks to the work of such groups, it looks as if the Galapagos tortoise, of which there are 16 separate species on the island, will survive long into the future.

A post shared by 𓆉 Megan De Angelis 𓆉 (@crittercatchermeg)

[h/t: Fascinating Things]

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Thinking Humanity: Beautiful All-Black Galapagos Tortoise Is Born At A Specialist Breeding Centre In Florida
Beautiful All-Black Galapagos Tortoise Is Born At A Specialist Breeding Centre In Florida
The Three Jays Tortoise Sanctuary in Florida is perhaps the largest breeding centre of Galapagos tortoises in the United States and has so far helped
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