Ecuador Investigates Deaths Of 4 Galápagos Tortoises They Fear Were Hunted And Eaten

The Ecuadorian authorities is investigating the deaths of 4 Galápagos big tortoises they believe had been hunted and eaten, in keeping with the BBC. An environmental crimes unit is at present interviewing nationwide park brokers whereas postmortems on the reptiles are being carried out.

The animal carcasses had been found on Isabela, the biggest of the Gálapagos Islands. The area was famously visited by English naturalist Charles Darwin, whose evolutionary research within the 1800s made the large tortoises, and plenty of different native species, world-renowned.

“As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least two hundred pounds: one was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly stalked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head,” wrote Darwin on the time.

Whereas killing Galápagos big tortoises has been unlawful since 1933 and carries a jail sentence of as much as three years, the inhabitants has nonetheless drastically dwindled. Solely about 15,000 of the large tortoises stay alive at this time — a pittance in distinction to the 200,000 within the 1800s.

Darwin himself, who transported 30 from the Galápagos to Polynesia aboard the HMS Beagle, noticed crew members devour most of his cargo throughout their voyage. Tortoises had been certainly as soon as thought-about a delicacy, and look like hunted for his or her flesh to today.

Park rangers found the stays of 15 Sierra Negra big tortoises in September 2021 in the identical park yielding the most recent 4 carcasses, in keeping with WION. Proof on the time equally prompt they had been hunted for his or her meat, whereas these concerned had been by no means caught.

The World Wildlife Fund says big tortoises are threatened by comparatively newly launched species together with canine and cats that prey on the younger, and cattle power them to compete for vegetation. Poaching, nonetheless, continues to be an enormous menace, as tortoise meat is offered on the black market.