For the first time in 600 years, a six-year-old project in Madagascar may result in thousands of Aldabra Giant Tortoises returning to the wild.

About Aldabra Giant Tortoise:

  • The Aldabra giant tortoise ranks as the world’s second-largest land tortoise species, surpassed only by the Galapagos Giant Tortoise.
  • With a remarkable lifespan of up to 150 years, this tortoise species boasts a captivating evolutionary journey.
  • Endemic to the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, located approximately 930 miles east of Africa and northeast of Madagascar. 
  • Aldabra tortoises exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females differ in appearance. 
  • These tortoises originally inhabited Madagascar for 15 million years before migrating to the Seychelles about four million years ago.

Key features: 

  • Their habitat includes diverse environments such as scrub forests, mangrove swamps, and coastal dunes, each of which supports unique vegetation.
  • Particularly prominent in grassland areas known as “platins,” where the largest tortoise populations are found.
  • Primarily herbivores, they eat grasses, leaves, woody plant stems, and fruit. They occasionally indulge in small invertebrates and carrion, even eating the bodies of other dead tortoises.
  • The tortoises’ grazing activities have contributed to the formation of specialized grass habitats termed “tortoise turf.”

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix II.

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