LifestyleThere is hope for the eco-resurgences. The case of the Galapagos tortoises illustrates a great success

There is hope for the eco‑resurgences. The case of the Galapagos tortoises illustrates a great success

There is hope for the eco-resurgences. The case of the Galapagos tortoises illustrates a great success
Images source: © GETTY | SOPA Images
8:04 AM EST, February 21, 2024

Española Island is one of the famous Galapagos Islands located in the southeast. It is the island located most to the south of the Galapagos Islands. It seems that it is becoming a home for the rebuilding ecosystem. It gives hope for ecological restoration and nature's resurgence in the turbulent times of global warming. And why is the giant tortoise the hero?

Albatrosses are one of the most famous and most admired species of birds in the world. They are also one of the largest flying birds habitating on our planet. Their survival is crucial for the ecosystems on the hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Their loss would be devastating for Earth's biodiversity.

Obraz
© GETTY | Wolfgang Kaehler

And here, Diego enters the scene. Diego is very, very old but very, very brave. He is also very old. He was hatched around 1910, meaning he is about 114 years old; yes, it is correct. He is believed to possibly reach the age of 150, which means that he still has a great future ahead of him. He has just started his retirement. How come, you may ask?

Diego was discovered in the San Diego Zoo in the late 1940s. The biologists discovered that he is a representative of the highly rare species of tortoise coming from the Galapagos Island, mainly Espanola Island. At the time of this discovery, Hood Island giant tortoises, one of which is Diego, were on the verge of extinction. They are an endemic species, living only in an extraordinary, scarce place. After discovering Diego's real identity, the scientists engaged him in a breeding program for several decades. Thanks to Diego, the population of those extremely rare tortoises managed to be restored.

Obraz
© GETTY | Ben Birchall - PA Images

But why are they so crucial for albatrosses? It turns out that they are critical for... clearing the ground. We quote after the BBC:

When Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos islands in 1835 he noticed a network of trails up and down the side of a volcano on San Cristóbal, caused by tortoises migrating from the highlands to the lowlands. On Española, tortoises have historically maintained clearings needed for nesting grounds by the critically endangered waved albatross which breeds almost exclusively here.

Obraz
© GETTY | Wolfgang Kaehler

It turned out that albatrosses could not survive if they were not in symbiosis with giant tortoises. Diego has much higher merits than it could seem.

Sources: BBC;

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