I’ve writen several posts about the sad loss of species to extinction. It’s time for some good news, even if it’s only a glimmer of hope.
An adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise, or Chelonoidis phantasticus, possibly older than 100, was found on Fernandina Island… The animal was transported to a breeding center on Santa Cruz Island [for] genetic tests. USA Today
Where’s there’s one, there may be more! Introduced species like rats, cats, pigs, and goats destroyed a lot of Galapogous wildlife, and the poor tortoises made excellent living pantries for early European sailors, but this particular species was threatened by lava flows over 100 years ago.
Today, only two groups of giant tortoises remain around the world – those on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean and others on Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean.
I wish the old lady and her keepers the best of luck. Lonesome George mated with females from his own island, but the eggs never hatched. Whether scientists learned anything from George that will help this Fernandina tortoise, I don’t know, but of course one lone female can’t breed on her own.
She’s already quite old – the tortoises are thought to have averaged 100 year life span before contact with humans, and some may have lived for 150 years. Their best chance at recovery may be if more individuals have survived, and if people and our traveling-companion animals will now leave them alone.
What are the odds? Two bits of good news in one day. The world’s largest bee isn’t extinct either, though no one knows how many may survive. Check out the comparison picture to a standard honeybee.