Hundreds of giant tortoises released in the Galapagos Islands

Nicolas Escorcia
03/05/2021 4:16 PM
Updated 03/05/2021 4:20 PM

In an effort to restore the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands, 191 giant tortoises  (Chelonoidis hoodensis) have been released on Santa Fe Island. With these, there are already 731 turtles that have been released on this island of the archipelago since 2015.

Between 2000 and 2015, the ecosystems of Santa Fe Island were deteriorating in large part due to the absence of this herbivore that is vitally important in the Galapagos Islands, according to Christian Sevilla, a park ranger on the island.

Dozens of park rangers release giant tortoises on Santa Fe Island
Dozens of park rangers release giant tortoises on Santa Fe Island  AFP

Thanks to the addition of these turtles coming from Española Island , the population is expected to last and, in addition, the flora of Santa Fe Island will increase to levels similar to those of the neighboring islands .

The process of ecological restoration of the island began in the 70s with the eradication of goats, but in 2015 it took on a new impetus with the introduction of turtles

Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park

The Plan for the Introduction of Giant Tortoises to Santa Fe, since its inception, has been rigorously monitored annually since 2015 – the island’s tortoises and a dispersal across approximately 30% of the island’s surface has been shown. Consequently, [that there is] the null competition for resources between turtles and iguanas, and that they are actively contributing to the dispersal of seeds, especially of Opuntia cacti, has been proven .

Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park, explains that “the process of ecological restoration of the island began in the 70s with the eradication of goats, but in 2015 it took a new turn with the introduction of turtles, a decision that was taken after a comprehensive evaluation of the island showed that its main herbivore was missing; [the evaluation showed that] the population of land iguanas, despite being large, did not fulfill the same role as turtles in the ecosystem, especially in terms of their contribution to seed dispersal.”

Read the original coverage from La Vanguardia at

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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