29 Oct '14, 2pm

Near-extinct Galapagos island tortoises make comeback

Near-extinct Galapagos island tortoises make comeback

Giant tortoises that were once driven to the brink of extinction on a tiny Galápagos island have made an amazing comeback, a new study reveals. The tortoise population on the island of Española dwindled to just 15 animals in the 1960s, because of damage to their habitat caused by feral goats. Then, about 40 years ago, captive-bred tortoises were released on the island, and now there are about 1,000 of them living and breeding in the wild. "It's one of the greatest conservation success stories," said James Gibbs, a conservation biologist at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Gibbs led the study published on Oct. 28 in the journal PLOS ONE . [See Images of a Giant Galapagos Tortoise ] Giant tortoises used to be found all over the world, but now, in the wild, they're found only on the Galápagos Islands . Whalers hunted the tortoises ...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/near-ext...

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