Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

Following the introduction of predators, competitors, and vegetation change on the Galapagos’ San Cristobal island, the population of the endemic Chelonoidis chathamensis giant tortoise was reduced from 24,000 animals to about 600 in the early 1970s, pushing the species to the brink of extinction.

However, thanks to amazing work done by conservationists, their numbers rebounded to about 6,700 in 2016. That number is expected to get even higher following the recent release of 36 tortoises back into the wild on the northeastern part of San Cristobal island.

The newly-added reptiles, born and raised in captivity, are between six and eight years old and weigh between three and five kilograms each. They may be youngsters now, but they are known to live more than a century.

To ensure the safety of the tortoises already on the island, the animals spent time in quarantine and were tested for disease and parasites before their release, according to the Galapagos National Park.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Cristobal Giant Tortoise as endangered, though their numbers are on the rise. We hope these new additions will continue to bolster the health of tortoise populations.

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