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136 Juvenile Galápagos Tortoises Released Safely



Quick Smiles:

  • The Galapagos Conservancy has successfully relocated 136 juvenile tortoises to their natural habitat on Isabela Island.
  • These tortoises were hatched and nurtured at the Breeding and Rearing Center on the island, and were then transported via helicopter, a new and crucial tool for this species’ repatriation.
  • This successful relocation marks a significant milestone in the conservation mission in Galápagos, contributing to the restoration of the ecological balance of the Ecuadoran island chain.

The Galapagos Conservancy has pulled off a truly uplifting feat! They’ve managed to airlift 136 juvenile tortoises back to their one and only natural habitat on Earth – the volcanic terrain of Isabela Island. These giant Galápagos tortoises, aged between 5 and 9 years, were hatched and raised at the Breeding and Rearing Center on the island. Here, devoted park rangers ensured their well-being and development from birth.

The tortoises were safely moved via helicopter, a vital new tool for repatriating this species. Without the helicopter support, funded by public donations, the only other option would be to transport them by sea and then carry them on shoulders across several miles of lava fields and challenging terrain. This would take a long time and multiple expeditions.

These 136 animals, all hale and hearty, were ready to take the thrilling journey back to their homeland. Here, they can now enjoy a lifetime in their natural state, living over 100 years on average. After being quarantined, dewormed, analyzed for health, and microchip marked for identification, the tortoises were flown to their destination in the picturesque south of Isabela Island, following strict safety standards.

These Galápagos projects play a vital role in restoring the ecological balance of the Ecuadoran island chain in South America. Tortoises are primary herbivores that actively participate in shaping the landscape and dispersing seeds. These are key factors in maintaining ecosystem stability.

Successfully rehoming this new group of 136 juvenile turtles by helicopter marks “a crucial milestone in our conservation mission in Galápagos,” said Dr. Jorge Carrión, the Director of Conservation at the Galapagos Conservancy.

Another significant milestone reached by the Galápagos National Park two years ago saw their rodent eradication program completed on two Galapagos Islands. Conservationists were thrilled to declare the lands rat-free. Now, native biodiversity can return to normal in those ecosystems of Seymour Norte and Mosquera islands.

So, let’s share this uplifting news with all the turtle-lovers out there on social media!