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Seychelles giant tortoise

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Title: Seychelles giant tortoise  
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Subject: Seychelles, Tortoise, Giant tortoise, Aldabra giant tortoise, Silhouette Island, Arnold's giant tortoise, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Dipsochelys, Extinct in the Wild, Jonathan (tortoise)
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Seychelles giant tortoise

Seychelles giant tortoise
Specimen that survived for 150 years on Mauritius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Aldabrachelys
Species: A. hololissa
Binomial name
Aldabrachelys hololissa
(Günther, 1877)

The Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys hololissa) has been thought to be extinct since the mid-19th century due to overexploitation on the granitic Seychelles islands. Similar giant tortoise species on other Indian Ocean islands such as Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodrigues Island are also extinct.

This species inhabited islands of the Seychelles group, where it thrived on vegetation on the edges of marshes and streams. By 1840, it had disappeared from the wild and was assumed to be extinct. As a grazing species, it somewhat resembled the Aldabra giant tortoise with its domed shape.

In 1999, some Seychelles island tortoises (12 known individuals) were suggested to have survived in captivity. The report of oddly shaped captive tortoises prompted the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles to examine the identity of the living tortoises. Examination of museum specimens of the "extinct" Seychelles species by Dr. Justin Gerlach and Laura Canning seemed to show some living tortoises possess characteristics of the extinct species. With DNA testing, tortoises of the "extinct" species were identified and were acquired by The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles for conservation. They were brought to Silhouette Island, where the only breeding population exists.[1]

An approximately 182-year old tortoise on Saint Helena, named Jonathan, is believed to be a survivor of the species (as well as potentially the oldest living tortoise in the world).[2]

See also

References

External links

  • Further information on Seychelles giant tortoises
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