Ecuador will census the population of giant tortoises in the Alcedo volcano

Ecuador will census the population of giant tortoises in the Alcedo volcano

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Giant Tortoises in the Alcedo volcano

Undated photograph, provided this Monday by the Galapagos National Park that shows two Chelonoidis vandenburghi tortoises in the area of ​​the Alcedo volcano, in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). EFE / Galapagos National Park

Quito, Jan 18 – Ecuador will census the population of giant tortoises in the surroundings of the Alcedo volcano, in the Galapagos Islands, in order to estimate the results of different conservation policies in that area.

The scientific expedition, which began its work this Sunday and which will monitor until next Sunday, is made up of park rangers and scientists from the Galapagos National Park Directorate and the Galapagos Conservancy project.
Within the program for the Restoration of the Giant Tortoises (GTRI, for its acronym in English), experts will do an intensive monitoring around the volcano, located in the north of Isabela Island, the largest in the archipelago.
According to a statement from the National Park, they will census the turtles of the Chelonoidis vandenburghi species and will estimate “the current state of conservation of this volcano after the different successful management actions that have been implemented as restoration measures.”

Located about 1,000 kilometers from the continental coasts of Ecuador, the Galapagos are one of the most valued and best-preserved ecosystems in the world, and control over their species is continuous to preserve their biodevirsity.
“As part of the monitoring plan, the teams will count and obtain data such as distribution, sex, age, nests, hatched turtles (at this time), among others,” the statement added.
The director of the GTRI initiative, Washington Tapia, explained that the expedition will develop its work in an area of ​​approximately 200 square kilometers and will have eight groups of three people, distributed in the north, south and east of the volcano, where more than 90% of the population of these turtles.
“The teams will mark and recapture the turtles, to make an estimate of the population, with 95% accuracy,” he said.
The monitoring will be carried out under biosecurity protocols, such as PCR tests of the equipment to avoid contagion of covid-19, in addition to compliance with the usual measures that are applied in the exclusive Galapagos National Park.

The experts also plan to register the possible presence of invasive species that could threaten other endemics, including cats, red ant and castor; as well as threatened species like the tree fern itself.

Danny Rueda, director of the National Park, stressed that “knowing the status of the population of the largest natural herbivore will allow us to know how the ecological restoration process is in the Alcedo volcano, after the eradication of the goats, which among other damages caused the extinction of the tree fern, a threatened endemic plant that was present at the site “.

Ben Oakley
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