Today Galapagos Tortoises are a critically endangered species but that wasn’t always the case. When the islands were discovered in the 1600s records indicate they were home to over 250,000 Tortoises. In the 18th century visiting ships infested the islands with rats who immediately became a threat that nearly led to extinction. The rats were so devastating that it’s believed they were capable of killing entire generations of tortoises by eating every egg laid on an island. It would take over 100 years for this problem to be addressed. In 2012 a specially designed poison was air dropped on the islands, and succeeded in wiping out the troublesome rat populations. It’s only been through constant and careful conservation that the species has survived at all. Recent news from the islands show that our efforts are paying off.
For the first time in over a century scientists have observed baby Galapagos Tortoises in the wild. It’s estimated that in the 1960’s there were only about 100 tortoises left alive on the islands. Today that number is close to 500. We still have a long way to go.
Through careful and selective intervention it’s been proven that we can bring devastated animal populations back from the brink of extinction. Do you feel that man has a responsibility to the wild places still left in the world? Should we spend time and resources trying to save endangered animals? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.