The Giant Tortoise has shown great recovery, where once there were 15 now more than a 1,000 roam around Espanola, one of the Galapagos islands.
This has been made possible by extensive work towards reintroducing captive animals over the course of 40 years, and now after a detailed study of the ecosystem there, it is evident that the island has a stable, breeding population.
There are 11 remaining sub-species of the Galapagos Tortoises, which weigh up to 250 kg and live longer than 100 years.
Professor Gibbs from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the state university of New York said that the finding on Espanola was “One of those rare examples of a true conservation success story, where we’ve rescued something from the brink of extinction and now it’s literally taking care of itself”. He also felt honored with the success of the reintroduction program which commenced at the Galapagos National Park in 1973.
” It looks like we can step back out of the picture. It is quite a contrast to the 1960s, when just 12 females and 3 males roamed the island. They were so rare at that point, they couldn’t find one another. Many of the females had lichens growing on their backs, and fungi, that indicated they hadn’t been mated in a very long time, ” Prof Gibbs said.
The problems for the Giant Tortoises began when feral goats were introduced in the 1800s and they devoured almost quite a lot of the island’s vegetation setting the entire ecosystem out of balance. However, with the complete removal of these goats by the 1990s, the entire thing started to fall back into place, but not exactly in the same way as before but nevertheless, an improvement in its own accord and providing a lot of hope for the Giant Tortoises inhabited there.