Tortoises born on Galapagos island for the first time in a century
For the first time in more than 100 years, researchers have found newborn baby tortoises on the tiny Galapagos island of Pinzón.
“We found 10 tiny, newly hatched saddleback tortoises on the island early last month,” wrote researchers in Nature in Janyart. “There could be many more, because their size and camouflage makes them hard to spot. Our discovery indicates that the giant tortoise is once again able to reproduce on its own in the wild.”
According to the Galapagos Conservancy, both whalers and invasive rats devastated the species when they arrived aboard ships in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The tiny turtle babies validates more than 50 years of conservation efforts, which have included growing hatchlings in captivity until they are large enough to be released without falling prey to rats, as well as a push to eradicate the rodents. The island was finally declared rat-free in 2012.