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.
We encounter one of the island's celebrities -an Aldabra giant tortoise lovingly called Big Daddy.
Caption: Officials have voted to use gigantea as part of the species name describing the iconic giant tortoises of the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean.
The giant tortoise Lonesome George, whose failed efforts to produce offspring made him a symbol of disappearing species, was found dead on Sunday, officials at the Galapagos National Park announced.
Because Aldabra giant tortoises are native to the Seychelles - an archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa - Ozzie has had some difficulty adjusting to Oregon's winter climate, even in a heated indoor enclosure.
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.
No giant tortoises to trip over and definitely no palm spider webs to accidently walk into.
Ecuadorian fishermen, upset by the shutdown of the seacucumber industry, "responded by slaughtering giant tortoises, which are endangered, and by laying siege to the Charles Darwin Research Station and threatening to burn it down," says Hollinger, who says the situation struck him as "an incredible Darwinian struggle.
Unique species of marine iguanas, giant tortoises and mockingbirds reside on the archipelago that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
As The New York Times reports, in recent months fishermen agitated over 1998 laws limiting the catch of sharks, lobsters and sea cucumbers have attacked conservation centers, harassed tourists and even kidnapped some of the islands' emblematic giant tortoises.
There is a big risk that the accident could turn into an environmental disaster, he asserts: the Galapagos archipelago is home to 60,000 sea lions, 50,000 seals, 10,000 giant tortoises, numerous iguanas, blue-footed boobies and many rare birds.