“Never discourage anyone,
who continually makes progress,
no matter how slow.”
In the mid-eighteenth-century sailors first set foot on the Pinzón Island triggering an environmental disaster. Unbeknownst to these sailors, they brought rats from their first ships that quickly multiplied, as rats tend to do.
One of the islands inhabitants was the Galapagos tortoises, who had few predators. Slowly, these tortoises began to disappear due to these rats feeding on the Galapagos eggs. The rat invasion was so devastating to this ancient tortoise population that for over the next century not a single tortoise egg hatched. As a result of our human activity, it placed the Galapagos on the endangered species list until now.
Beginning in the 1960s, researchers, scientists and even Governments worked to save the Galapagos tortoises by eradicating the islands rat population as well as increasing and protecting egg hatchings. It took over 40 years of dedicated hard work, but it is paying off tenfold.
Thanks to organizations such as the Galapagos Conservancy, and human interest this gentle giant is now returning to Pinzón. James Gibbs, a Professor and Researcher who works with the Galapagos Conservancy, in Fairfax, Virginia said, “I’m surprised the turtles have given us the opportunity to make up for our mistakes after so much time.”
Dr. Gibbs recently reported that his team detected an estimated 500 turtles currently living on the island. He also reported that, thanks to years of working to save these turtles, they are seeing more and more Galapagos baby tortoises.