Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Giant tortoises gain a foothold on a Galapagos island

Date:
October 28, 2014

Source:
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Summary:
A population of endangered giant tortoises has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, a finding described as “a true story of success and hope in conservation.”

Some 40 years after the first captive-bred tortoises were reintroduced to the island by the Galapagos National Park Service, the endemic Española giant tortoises are reproducing and restoring some of the ecological damage caused by feral goats that were brought to the island in the late 19th century.

"The global population was down to just 15 tortoises by the 1960s. Now there are some 1,000 tortoises breeding on their own. The population is secure. It's a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction, " said James P. Gibbs, a professor of vertebrate conservation biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and lead author of the paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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