A well-balanced biome is crucial for our environment, so the conservation of endangered species is of great importance, as flora and fauna maintain the health of the ecosystem.
Endangered species can lead to its imbalance, as the loss of one species leads to the loss of others.
Scientists maintain that the best way to protect endangered species is to protect their natural habitat. In this way, entire communities of animals and plants can be protected together.
The tortoises in the Galapagos Island of Pinzon were basking in their numbers, until the 18th century and the invasion of hungry rats from a docking ship.
The rats ate the eggs of various species, including tortoises, and thus disrupted the natural order of the island’s ecosystem.
Over time, tortoises became an endangered species, due to this, as well as attacks from larger species, and destructive human activities.
The species was absent from the wild for about a century.
However, the conservation efforts over the decades gave impressive results, and nowadays, over 500 baby tortoises are thriving in Pinzon, all born and bred there.
In December 2012, with the help of air-dropped rat poison, the rats were destroyed, and the population of tortoises is on a steady rise ever since. The rat eradication campaign was conducted by Island Conservation, the Galapagos National Park Directorate, and other partners. They declared the island rat-free after a year of monitoring.
In 1960, when a restoration initiative tried to save the remaining egg specimens on the island.
About a hundred eggs were collected and hatched on another island, and after five years, when they were strong enough to defend themselves, they were returned to Pinzon.
Yet, the rats still caused major problems then, by eating the eggs laid by the adult tortoises.
Once the rodents were eradicated, things started to improve.
Researcher James Gibbs, a Professor of Vertebrate Conservation Biology and Associate Chair of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York, partnered with Galapagos Conservancy to restore giant tortoise populations in Galapagos through the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative.
“I’m amazed that the tortoises gave us the opportunity to make up for our mistakes after so long. The incredible eradication of rats on this island, done by the park service and others, has created the opportunity for the tortoises to breed for the first time.”
When he and his team arrived on the island in 2014, they found ten new hatchlings crawling across the path in the first part of the Island.
This was extremely important, as it meant that the ecosystem was finally being brought back to the natural order.
“This new bunch of “little guys” is one of the important results of the rat eradication campaign, tangible proof that with dedication, hard work, support, and heart, conservation efforts can effect positive change.”
Before their departure that year, they found about 300 wild-born baby tortoises.
“This is the first time they’ve bred in the wild in more than a century. I’m sure there were a hundred times more hatchlings out there.”
Nowadays, it is believed that his number has risen to 500, and Gibbs concluded that Pinzón has become” an island in recovery, a growing tortoise population” and their findings ” provide confirmation of the good work of the Galapagos National Park Service and its many collaborators. “