BARRIO – Ecuador has launched an investigation into the killing of four Galapagos giant tortoises. It is believed that they were hunted and eaten. Killing of the endangered animals has been banned since 1933.
Tortoise meat was once considered a delicacy, but those who hunt them now face up to three years in jail.
In September 2021, park rangers found the remains of 15 giant tortoises on Isabela Island in Galapagos. Photos of their empty shells went viral on social media and caused outrage in Ecuador.
Galapagos giant tortoises have a lifespan of more than 100 years and were made famous by Charles Darwin, who pioneered the theory of evolution studying them.
The ship Darwin sailed on, The Beagle, took 30 live tortoises on its long voyage from the Galapagos to Polynesia. Most of them were eaten by the crew.
There are currently about 15,000 of the giant tortoises in the world, compared to 200,000 in the 19th Century.