From Yale University in the USA:
Genetic Analysis Gives Hope That Extinct Tortoise Species May Live Again
Published: January 15, 2010
New Haven, Conn. — Thanks to genetic data gleaned from the bones found in a several museum collections, an international team of researchers led by scientists from Yale believes it may be possible to resurrect a tortoise species hunted to extinction by whalers visiting the Galapagos Islands during the early 19th century, before Charles Darwin made his famous visit.
A genetic analysis of 156 tortoises living in captivity and the DNA taken from remains of specimens of the now-extinct Chelonoidis elephantopus revealed that nine are descendents of the vanished species, which once made its home on Floreana Island in the Galapagos. Over a few generations, a selective breeding program among these tortoises should be able to revive the C. elephantopus species, said Adalgisa Caccone, senior research scientist in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale and senior author of the piece published this week in the online journal PLoS ONE.
Officials of the Galápagos National Park announced the release of 39 giant tortoises on Pinta Island in the Ecuadorian Galápagos archipelago where the animals had disappeared since 1972: here.
June 2010. 39 tortoises have been released into the wilds of Pinta Island, in the northern waters of the Galapagos Archipelago, as part of an ongoing effort to restore the ecological integrity of Pinta ecosystems. This is the first time that tortoises have inhabited the island since the removal of Lonesome George, the last known Pinta tortoise, in 1972: here.
Return of giant tortoises to Galapagos’s Pinta Island: here.
STERILISING giant tortoises and setting them free on a precious eco-site may not sound like the ideal way to restore a Galapagos island to its former glory. But it’s one that seems to be working on Pinta Island, the original home of famous giant tortoise “Lonesome George”: here.