A horrible discovery was recently made in the Galapagos Islands. According to multiple sources, 15 endangered giant tortoises were found slaughtered on southern Isabela Island. According to a news release from the Galapagos Conservancy, the tortoises were found by rangers of the Galápagos National Park Directorate on patrol in a remote area of Sierra Negra Volcano. Most of the tortoises encountered had been killed at an undetermined time, but two were freshly killed.
The conservancy stated:
The disturbing news follows on another report this year of 185 small tortoises found on March 29, 2021, in a suitcase at the Baltra Island airport being trafficked to the mainland for sale, as well as earlier reports: in 2018, 123 juvenile tortoises were stolen from the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island, and in 2017, 29 were taken from the same facility, some of which were later recovered in Piura, Perú. Together, these events could be evidence that Galápagos is becoming increasingly ensnared in the global wildlife trade, which takes a particularly heavy toll on turtle and tortoise species around the world.
The animal welfare agency has stated that poachers are still a major problem for the giant tortoises, who are killed for their meat and for “other products.” The organization said, “With few tortoises remaining on the primary volcano affected – Sierra Negra, which once hosted the largest of all populations in Galápagos – this ongoing killing poses a major threat to the species’ continued existence.”
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