In cased you missed it, another success story is underway in the Galapagos Islands! Baby Saddleback tortoises have been found on the Island Pinzón for the first time in over 100 years!
This particular species of Galapagos tortoises was near extinction as a result of a rat infestation on the island. Measures were taken to rid the island of rats and, apparently, they have been more successful than anticipated. According to a blog post by Dr. James Gibbs, a conservation biologist SUNY-ESF who has worked on the giant tortoise restoration initiative with Galapagos Conservancy for years,
“By the end of our trip, the team had encountered over 300 tortoises, resulting in an overall population estimate well over 500, a near tripling of the population from the 100-200 very old individuals encountered on Pinzón when the Galapagos National Park was established in 1959. This welcome change, after centuries of exploitation, is a direct result of the successful captive rearing and repatriation program and now the elimination of the rats”
Fantastic news for the Saddleback tortoise, though not all inhabitants of the island have been as lucky. For us tortoise lovers, and the many individuals and organizations working to save them from extinction, its a win. The hope is that the Saddleback tortoise population on the island of Pinzón will continue to grow and find stability, like the Espanola giant Galapagos tortoises have ( one of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative’s biggest successes). Perhaps we can make Lonesome George more than the last of his kind, make him the last giant tortoise extinction. Wishful thinking?
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