April 20, 2017
On Wednesday, April 19, the Department of Environmental Protection of the Peruvian Police (SERFOR) seized 29 juvenile giant tortoises, apparently identified as endemic to Galapagos. The Galapagos National Park Directorate, part of the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment, has initiated the necessary legal actions to investigate this incident along with the corresponding governmental procedures for the repatriation of the tortoises back to the Galapagos archipelago.
As the tortoises are still very small, it is not possible to determine exactly the species or the sex, nor the island to which they correspond. Forthcoming procedures will include genetic analyses to determine the species and the island from which they were removed.
A team of experts and Park rangers will be traveling to Peru in the coming days to gather information and to coordinate joint actions with SERFOR and the Peruvian authorities to repatriate the tortoises.
The Galapagos National Park Directorate have indicated that it will spare no effort to clarify this alleged case of trafficking of protected wildlife, and that there will be zero tolerance towards those responsible. Watch this space for further updates.
Galapagos has 11 species of giant tortoises that live freely in different islands, which are considered endangered according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).