Seychelles giant tortoise
|Seychelles giant tortoise|
|Specimen that survived for 150 years on Mauritius|
The Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys hololissa) has been thought to be extinct since the mid-19th century due to overexploitation on the granitic Seychelles islands. Similar giant tortoise species on other Indian Ocean islands such as Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodrigues Island are also extinct.
This species inhabited islands of the Seychelles group, where it thrived on vegetation on the edges of marshes and streams. By 1840, it had disappeared from the wild and was assumed to be extinct. As a grazing species, it somewhat resembled the Aldabra giant tortoise with its domed shape.
In 1999, some Seychelles island tortoises (12 known individuals) were suggested to have survived in captivity. The report of oddly shaped captive tortoises prompted the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles to examine the identity of the living tortoises. Examination of museum specimens of the "extinct" Seychelles species by Dr. Justin Gerlach and Laura Canning seemed to show some living tortoises possess characteristics of the extinct species. With DNA testing, tortoises of the "extinct" species were identified and were acquired by The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles for conservation. They were brought to Silhouette Island, where the only breeding population exists.
- Extinct animals
- Population bottleneck
- Endangered species
- IUCN Red List endangered species (Animalia)
- Jeremy J. Austrin, E. Nicholas Arnaud & Roger Bour (2003). "Was there a second adaptive radiation of giant tortoises in the Indian Ocean? Using mitochondrial DNA to investigate speciation and biogeography of Aldabrachelys (Reptilia,Testudinidae)" (abstract page). Molecular Ecology 12 (6): 1415–1424. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294X.2003.01842.x. PMID 12755871.
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