Galapagos Tortoise Hatchlings

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.

These stalwart creatures can live up to a century in the wild.
Life on the islands got a lot easier once the rats were removed. Eggs like this one would have almost certainly been eaten.
A group of tortoises is actually called a creep. Since they’re so endangered sighting a creep is pretty rare.
If you were curious about the tortoises’ secret to a long and healthy life their diet may provide a clue. Mostly they eat grasses, leafy greens, and moist fruits.
Even if you carry your home on your back it’s nice to have a place out of the sun and rain.
Although they’re far from a full recovery, things are starting to look up.
Welcome to the world little guy.
NGS Picture ID:1302724
If anything, this story shows how successful conservation projects can be.

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.


One comment

  1. Great post! Between rats and goats, the Galápagos tortoises certainly had a lot going against them. Since humans introduced these invasive species, it seems only right that we remove them as well.


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