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Giant Tortoise - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Giant Tortoise


What’s in news?

The Galapagos National Park called off the captive breeding programme as the population of the tortoise has gone up.

Key data’s:

  • Diego, a member of the Chelonoidis hoodensis, or the giant tortoise species has retired.
  • In the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) in the Galapagos National Park, Diego is responsible for about 40 per cent of the offspring
  • Population: The population of the Galápagos Tortoise was raised from 15 to 2000 because of the captive breeding programme.
  • GTRI is a captive breeding programme started since 1976.
  • Other male tortoises:
    • E5, a less charismatic male tortoise has generated the remaining population of tortoises about 60 per cent.
    • E3, another male has not yet done anything for the population rise.
  • Special about Diego: More than a prolific male tortoise in the park, it is far more famous than E5 because of his ‘personality’ – loud, aggressive, and demonstrative.

Reason for declining its population:

Following are the threat associated with the declining of the tortoise’s population;

  • In 1800s, the tortoises on the Galápagos Islands was an excellent source of food for seafarers.
  • Feral goats– destroys the habitat in competing for food.

About Galápagos Tortoise:

  • Common Name: Galápagos Tortoise
  • Scientific Name: Chelonoidis nigra
  • Distribution: The Galápagos tortoises are native to seven of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador, located about 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian mainland.
  • Average Life Span: The average lifespan in the wild is over 100 years – one of the longest-lived vertebrates. The oldest on record lived to be 152.
  • Weight:Modern Galápagos tortoises can weigh up to 417 kg.
  • Length: The length of the tortoises can exceed 5 feet in length
  • IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable.
  • It is listed on Appendix I of the “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”

Galápagos National Park:

  • Established year: The park was established on 1959.
  • The park is located in Ecuador’s – the country’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The year 1979: UNESCO declared the Galápagos Islands Natural Heritage for Humanity.

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