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28 Sep
Galapagos pirates could have resuscitated an extinct species of tortoise
category: Blog
Created: 28 September 2017
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Galapagos pirates could have resuscitated an extinct species of tortoise

Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra) are in danger of extinction. Many species have disappeared, and very few of them are alive today. Experts claim that it is unlikely to restore them in the near future; but recently, an international team has found by chance, some hybrid turtles descendants of extinct species in Isabela Island. In this regard, scientists believe that pirates or whalers may have transported the turtle from one island to another.

Before the islands were discovered by man, 15 species of turtles inhabited the insular territory. Nevertheless, in the last centuries, after their discovery, many pirates began to arrive in the islands. Given that Galapagos' turtles could survive without food or water for several months, pirates used them as a food source. Therefore, the number of turtles was reduced by 90%, including the species Chelonoidis elephantopus. In 1994, researchers found by chance a population of turtles with horse-mound shells in Isabela Island. In 2008, blood samples were collected from 1600 native turtles.

How did C. elephantopus arrive to the island? Everything points to the pirates, they took some of them as food, and later forgotten. Investigations have been conducted in Wolf Volcano, and scientists captured 144 specimens. They took again blood for mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis, which showed that some of them are carriers of the C.elephantopus genes. It should be stressed that 23 of these turtles were transported to the Charles Darwin Research Center, located in the archipelago.

Researchers hope that turtles could re-establish in their natural physical environment in the coming decades. In the article, they emphasize that, in a strange irony, the same people who participated in the extermination of the turtles (pirates), involuntarily contributed to the resurrection of these species.

Some of these emblematic animals of the Galapagos Islands could be seen through the expeditions arranged by Golondrina Yacht. The natural wealth of Galapagos has been a subject of intense research since the arrival of Charles Darwin. We are here to make you live the best experience in your life at a very affordable price. For further information please feel free to communicate with us, it will be a huge privilege to assist you!