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Seychelles

Africa

The last survivors

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The giant tortoise has for centuries been outcompeted, chased and poached towards extinction. But on a remote atoll outside the Seychelles, a large colony is prospering.

 

The story of the giant tortoise is often a sad one. Since the 17th century, settlers and explorers have raided islands in the Indian Ocean, putting tortoises on their ships as food. The reptiles can go six months without food or water, providing starved sailors with fresh meat. Where humans weren’t involved, rival species snared its food and attacked its eggs; the giant tortoise, after all, was never designed for combat or getaways. By the late 1800s, the global population was estimated at below 1,000. Continue Reading…