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Helicopters rescue tortoise operation

Helicopters rescue tortoise operation
Helicopters rescue tortoise operation

The Galápagos Conservancy successfully airlifted 136 juvenile Galápagos tortoises back to Isabela Island, their natural home. This method, funded by public donations, proved more efficient and less stressful for the tortoises than traditional sea transport followed by a physically demanding trek across difficult terrain.

The giant Galápagos tortoises, aged between 5 and 9 years, were nurtured from birth at the Breeding and Rearing Center on the island. Park rangers dedicatedly oversaw their development, ensuring their readiness for repatriation to the wild. The move, conducted via helicopter, represents a novel and effective approach to rewilding these species. The process involved meticulous health checks, quarantine, deworming, and microchipping for identification, ensuring the tortoises' well-being throughout their journey. The helicopter transportation, crucial for reaching the challenging volcanic terrain of Isabela Island, demonstrates the innovative methods employed by the Galápagos Conservancy in its conservation efforts.


The success of this project is significant for the ecological balance of the Galápagos Islands. As primary herbivores, tortoises play a key role in shaping the landscape and maintaining ecosystem stability through seed dispersal.


The Galápagos Conservancy's helicopter operation for relocating juvenile tortoises to Isabela Island showcases a method where local initiatives are supported by global community efforts. This approach facilitates the transportation of wildlife, aiming to maintain ecological balance. The operation reflects a collaboration between local expertise and wider support networks, contributing to conservation objectives while aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 15.


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