A giant tortoise believed to have been extinct for 100 years has incredibly reappeared in the Galapagos Islands. The news, very positive for a threatened ecosystem, was confirmed by the Minister of the Environment of Ecuador Gustavo Manrique.
To make sure it was the tortoise that has been extinct for more than 100 years, the team of researchers at Yale University carried out DNA analysis of the animal, which was found in 2019, comparing it with the DNA of the last specimen present at Galapagos, who disappeared in 1906.
Chelonoidis phantasticus is one of the 15 giant tortoise species of the archipelago, two of which are extinct. The last Chelonoidis abigdoni, a male known as George the loner, died in 2012 without an heir, for refusing to mate with females of other species.
Manrique said on Twitter: "We have believed it to be extinct for over 100 years! We have confirmed its existence. The Chelonoidis phantasticus turtle was discovered in the Galapagos." The government of Ecuador will set up a scientific expedition to the island of Fernandina in the coming months, looking for any other specimens.
According to the director of the Galapagos park, Danny Rueda, the discovery of the turtle Chelonoidis phantasticus reinforces the hope of saving this species and avoiding the fate of George the loner.
Poachers kill hundreds of cranes in Lebanon
Hundreds of gray cranes have been killed by a group of poachers in Lebanon.
According to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, millions of migratory birds are illegally killed in the country every year. Gray cranes at this time of the year are engaged in a migration that crosses southern Lebanon, for this reason the poachers have had a particularly easy life to intercept flocks and to kill them.
As reported on the Facebook page of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, the killing of so many defenseless animals has also mobilized the police. Several arrests have already been carried out. Specifically, the gendarmerie unit has imprisoned three young men Lebanese aged 26, 34 and 40, who are all suspected of being part of the criminal gang behind the slaughter.
To make the episode even more shocking poachers shared on Facebook of numerous images depicting men near the carcasses of cranes. The protagonists of the massacre often appear smiling next to the animals carcasses. The first of the three denied involvement in the shooting but admitted that he was paid by poachers to clean the carcasses of the cranes.
The other two instead stated that they were in the area for a picnic, and had received some carcasses from poachers for resale.