Extinct Galapagos tortoise species revived?

This video is called Lonesome George the Galapagos Tortoise – Explore – BBC.

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.

Lonesome George‘s eggs infertile again: here.

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.

5 thoughts on “Extinct Galapagos tortoise species revived?

  1. Scientists unveil Galapagos Islands’ conservation plan

    Quito, Jan 30 : Scientists have warned of a difficult task ahead in the conservation of Ecuador’s fragile Galapagos Islands ecosystem, home to species nowhere else found in the world.

    Gabriel Lopez, executive director of the Charles Darwin Foundation, Friday released a report highlighting the challenges that lie ahaed in the conservation of the fragile Galapagos ecosystem.

    The report, marking the 50th anniversary of the organisation, contained details of the activities undertaken to protect the ecosystem by the foundation in 2009 and an outlook for 2010.

    Lopez said the foundation this year plans to continue with three “emblematic” projects launched in 2009 – measuring the “human footprint” on the archipelago, studying the consequences of climate change and the “comprehensive” restoration of Floreana Island in southern part of the archipelago.

    The Ecuadorian islands will act as “an ideal laboratory” for compiling “highly trustworthy” data on the effects of the El Nino phenomenon, he said.

    Lopez said the data gathered by scientists show “it is almost certain El Nino events will be more frequent, more intense” and could have a “devastating impact on the island’s endemic species like sea lions and marine iguanas”.

    He added that in the next few months, the foundation will organise a series of workshops and forums on sustainable development and scientists from different countries will participate.

    “We should be proud of our work in 2009, but now the foundation and the Galapagos Islands face the most challenging days of their history,” he said.

    The Galapagos Islands owe their name to the large tortoises that live there. Its rich biodiversity helped British scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution and natural selection of species. The archipelago is located about 1,000 km west of the continental coast of Ecuador.



  2. Scientists try to mate Galapagos tortoise _ again

    Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:40 pm

    Will Lonesome George ever become a dad?

    Scientists are still hoping to mate the near century-old giant tortoise from the Galapagos _ even though efforts over the past two decades have failed.

    The Galapagos National Park said in a statement Thursday that they are providing two new female partners for George, who is believed to be the last living member of the Geochelone abigdoni species.

    George is estimated to be between 90 and 100 years old _ and could have at least 50 more years ahead of him. For the past 20 years, he has lived with two previous female partners, of the similar but different Geochelone becki species. The females laid eggs in 2008, 2009 and last year, but none resulted in viable offspring.

    Scientists believe George may have a better chance of reproducing with his two new partners, of the Geochelone hoodensis species.

    The two potential mates arrived on Santa Cruz island, where George lives, on Thursday from the archipelago’s Spanish Island.

    Genetic studies conducted by Yale University have shown that the newly arrived tortoises “are genetically closer … more compatible, and could offer greater possibilities of producing offspring,” the park’s statement said.

    The Galapagos island chain, about 620 miles (1,000 kms) off Ecuador’s coast, is home to unique animal species that inspired Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution.



  3. Pingback: Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George dies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: US religious right supports Japanese whale killers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: New Galapagos tortoises research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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