Galapagos Islands animals only found on
- Galapagos Giant Tortoise
- Testudines, Testudinidae
- Geochelone Nigra
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The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the world's largest land tortoise. They almost went into extinction because people captured them for food, and because they were attached by other animals people brought to the island.
Tortoise Shell: 130cm Max.
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise lives only on the Galapagos Islands.
Their staple food is grass and cactus, but they also eat fruits.
In addition to their huge size, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is also long-lived, and existing records claim some to have lived more than 150 years.
Find out more about the Galapagos Giant Tortoise!
Animals brought by people caused the Galapagos Giant Tortoise to suffer
Along with the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the world's largest land tortoise. Originally, they had no natural enemies on the Galapagos Islands. But when the Europeans discovered the islands in the 16th century, their number started to decline. Being a slow mover with tasty flesh, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise became a highly sought-after food to travelers who spent long journeys aboard ship, and people that had moved to live on the islands. The people also brought animals to the island that tortured the Galapagos Giant Tortoise. The tortoise lost its eggs and hatchlings to pigs and dogs, and its food to goats and cows.
Conservation activities show signs of hope!
Thanks to conservation activities, the once endangered Galapagos Giant Tortoise is slowly increasing. Today, it is illegal to capture them, and to bring other animals to the islands. There are also programs to release captive-bred hatchlings to the wilderness. However, there are subspecies that are already extinct, and a subspecies that will become extinct when the last-surviving male tortoise dies. It is important that we never repeat these mistakes again.