Conservationists working around the largest volcano on the Galápagos Islands say they have found 30 giant tortoises partially descended from two extinct species, including that of the famed Lonesome George.
The Galápagos national park and Galápagos Conservancy said one young female had a direct line of descent from the Chelonoidis abingdonii species of Pinta Island. The last of those tortoises was Lonesome George, who died in June 2012 and was believed to be more than 100 years old.
Park rangers and scientists from the Galapagos National Parks (PNG) and Galapagos Conservancy are touring the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island in hopes of “locating and removing a group of giant tortoises with partial lineage” to the extinct Pinta and Floreana species, the park said in a statement. The 45-member expedition working around Isabela Island said they chose the area because whalers and pirates who would eat the animals were thought to have dumped some of the tortoises there in the past to lighten their ships’ loads.
Another 11 males and 18 females were from the Chelonoidis niger line of Floreana island.
Those found during the latest expedition were hybrids descended from both the extinct and other species.
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