After Being Believed To Be Extinct For A Century Scientist Rediscovers A Giant Tortoise

Wacho Tapia who is the Director of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative at the Galápagos Conservancy said that the conservation of the great Galápagos giant tortoises was his passion for 29 years and the emotions he feels on this discovery is indescribable. He also said that finding a live specimen of this species is the most important find of the century.

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12Relatives of the giant tortoise

The closest relative of the giant tortoise from Galapagos is the small Chaco tortoise from South America, though it is not a direct ancestor. Reports and research suggest that the first giant tortoise arrived at Galapagos somewhere around 2–3 million years ago by drifting nearly 600 miles from the South American.

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13The killing of the giant tortoise

It was during the 16th and 17th centuries that the Galápagos islands were visited by buccaneers that were preying on Spanish treasure ships. They used to fill the ships with tortoises as they were an easy food stock. This soon became a tradition that was continued even by whalers in the centuries that followed.

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14Tortoise meat

Skippers on the whaling ships always praised tortoise meat and said it was way more delicious than chicken, pork or beef. They said the meat was succulent and the oil from their bodies was purer than butter. Another benefit of these giant tortoises was that their neck held water that could be used for drinking.

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15The cause for the decline

The Buccaneers caught giant tortoises not only because of their meat and oil but were the best livestock that no one needed to feed as they could survive a year without food or water. These tortoises could provide fresh meat for a whole year and was the reason they were caught and killed.

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