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Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative
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The giant tortoise was one of the most devastated species in the Galapagos
Islands, and nears extinction.
The Giant Tortoise was used as a food source, though now is becoming less
prevalent.
Forthcoming, they started being used to harvest oil.
One of the reasons the Giant Tortoise did not thrive in the Galapagos Islands
is because there are predators that feed on the Giant Tortoise, such as; rats,
pigs and dogs. Furthermore, there are other species like goats and donkeys
that destroy the Tortoises’ habitat.
With the establishment of the Galapagos National Park Service and the
Charles Darwin Foundation, in 1959, they began a review of the status of the
Tortoise population.
Only 11 of those 14 populations remained, and a majority of them were on
the brink of extinction.
Review initiated because of the realization of the lack of population of the
Pinzon Island.
The reason for the decreasing number of Tortoises’ was because of the
introduction of the predators; rats.
Thus the program began from Pinzon Island.
A great success was seen by the increasing number of Giant Tortoises’,
throughout the world.
Advances were made and recognition was giving to the advancement in
knowledge of the Tortoises’ ecology and genetics.
Future ambitions: “Over a 10-year period the project will:
 Restore tortoise populations, including those considered
“extinct in the wild,” through a combination of in situ
management, breeding and rearing tortoises where
appropriate, and repopulation of an island where tortoises are
extinct through the use of an analog (closely-related) species
 Evaluate habitat conditions and restore where necessary
 Improve education/outreach in service of giant tortoise
conservation”
Source: Ecosystem Restoration: Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative;
http://www.galapagos.org/conservation/tortoise-restoration/