Trace missing tortoise

#GS3 #BIODIVERSITY

A special teams to investigate the case of a missing Aldabra giant tortoise that is suspected to have been stolen. The Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest tortoises in the world, and is one of the longest living ones

 

Aldabra giant tortoise 

  • The Aldabra giant tortoise, from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world. 
  • Historically, giant tortoises were found on many of the western Indian Ocean islands, as well as Madagascar, and the fossil record indicates giant tortoises once occurred on every continent and many islands with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. 
  • Many of the Indian Ocean species were thought to be driven to extinction by over-exploitation by European sailors, and they were all seemingly extinct by 1840 with the exception of the Aldabran giant tortoise on the island atoll of Aldabra. 
  • The carapace is a brown or tan color with a high, domed shape. It has stocky, heavily scaled legs to support its heavy body. 
  • The neck of the Aldabra giant tortoise is very long, even for its great size, which helps the animal to exploit tree branches up to a meter from the ground as a food source. 
  • Similar in size to the famous Galápagos giant tortoise, its carapace averages 122 cm (48 in) in length with an average weight of 250 kg (550 lb). 
  • Females are generally smaller than males, with average specimens measuring 91 cm (36 in) in length and weighing 159 kg (351 lb). 
  • Medium-sized specimens in captivity were reported as 70 to 110 kg (150 to 240 lb) in body mass. 
  • A peculiar habitat has coevolved due to the grazing pressures of the tortoises: "tortoise turf", a comingling of 20+ species of grasses and herbs
  • Many of these distinct plants are naturally dwarfed and grow their seeds not from the tops of the plants, but closer to the ground to avoid the tortoises' close-cropping jaws.
  • As the largest animal in its environment, the Aldabra tortoise performs a role similar to that of the elephant. Their vigorous search for food fells trees and creates pathways used by other animals.
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