Giant Tortoises

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Giant Tortoises

 

the two largest species of reptiles of the family Testudinidae (land tortoises). The species Geochelone elephantopus inhabits the Galápagos Islands. (The species was formerly subdivided into a number of species, which are now considered subspecies.) The carapace is up to 1 m long (sometimes as much as 1.5 m) and more than 0.5 m high. The tortoises weigh up to 100 kg; exceptionally large individuals may weigh as much as 400 kg. The males are larger than the females. The only remaining members of the species G. gigantea are found on the Aldabra Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Up until the 18th century several species of giant tortoises were distributed on the islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Beginning in the 17th century the tortoises were subjected to extensive slaughtering by man, who used the meat, the eggs, and the fat (to make a valuable oil). They were later preyed upon by mammals brought to the islands by man.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Galapagos National Park (PNG) issued a press release stating the new species had been named "Chelonoidis donfaustoi" in honor of Fausto Llerena, the historic caretaker of George, a Galapagos' emblematic giant tortoise who died in 2012 at the estimated age of 102.
Over the past 50 years, more than 5,000 giant tortoises have hatched in the archipelago as a result of a breeding program on the second biggest GalEipagos Island, Santa Cruz, according to Ecuador's environment ministry.
The Malaysian giant tortoise and the Asian brown tortoise Manouria emys are the only species present in DSNP that are listed as protected.
Rare Giant Tortoises, bats and rodents are now thriving on this perfectly round islet, just 27 hectares in size, which wallows in the warm waters of Mahebourg Bay.
Many will remember the story of Lonesome George, the Pinta Island giant tortoise, who died last year.
Ten other species of Galapagos giant tortoise survive Lonesome George.
Carbon dating was done on Adwaita, a giant tortoise at a zoo in Calcutta, India.
The Galapagos National Park has been successful over the years in breeding some of the giant tortoise subspecies and releasing them back in the wild.
Below: Abraham, a 60-year-old giant tortoise on Mahe Pictures, SIMON HADLEY; The airport departures and arrival lounge at Denis Island
The Seychelles have several rare-bird colonies and the fabled coco-de-mer palms, and may actually have more giant tortoises than the Galipagos.
Off-the-beaten-path opportunities: Choose a company offering unique away-from-the-crowds options like Natural Habitat Adventures' tented camp amid giant tortoise habitat and voluntourism extensions; and Explorers' Corner's rare-access kayaking tours.
A giant tortoise in the wild on Isabela Island, Galapagos