Rangers from the Galápagos National Park found the carcasses of 15 giant tortoises in the wild on Isabela Island's southern coast.

Giant Tortoises (IMAGE)
(Photo : Photo courtesy of Guillame Bastille-Rousseau.)

The tortoises were discovered in the isolated Sierra Negra Volcano region on Isabela Island's southern coast.

The majority of the tortoises were murdered "at an unknown period," although two are thought to have been slaughtered lately, according to the Galápagos Conservancy.

Related Article: Gruesome Nature: Giant Tortoise Attacking and Eating Baby Bird Caught on Film

A Very Disturbing Discovery

The disturbing news comes after another report this year of 185 small tortoises found in a suitcase at the Baltra Island airport on March 29, 2021, being trafficked to the mainland for sale, as well as previous reports.

"In 2018, 123 juvenile tortoises were stolen from the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island," the conservancy said, "and in 2017, 29 were taken from the same facility, some of which were later recovered in Piura, Per."

These occurrences might indicate that Galápagos is getting increasingly entangled in the global wildlife trade, which disproportionately negatively impacts turtle and tortoise species across the world.

Related Article: Supposedly Extinct Galapagos Giant Tortoise Species Confirmed to Have Resurfaced in the Island

In Constant Risk

(Photo : Getty Images)

According to the conservancy, the tortoises are constantly at risk of being slaughtered and illegally exported, placing strain on a species that has spent decades battling for survival.

"The severely endangered status of tortoises on southern Isabela Island today, driven by the past devastation of tortoise populations by whalers and early colonists, has proven impossible to reverse," the conservation stated.

"Although just a few locals continue to slaughter tortoises, demand for tortoise meat and other tortoise products has increased. With only a few tortoises left on the principal volcano affected - Sierra Negra, which previously housed the biggest of all Galápagos populations - this continuous slaughter poses a serious threat to the species' survival."

Related Article: Darwin's Arch, a Rock formation Named After the British Scientist, Collapsed 

Decades of Preservation Efforts

(Photo : Global Wildlife Conservation)

The conservancy has spent the last decade assisting local governments in their efforts to preserve tortoises from poachers in the area.

"However, these new findings demonstrate that it is more important than ever to put a halt to the slaughter and trafficking of Giant Tortoises before they jeopardize the tortoise's long-term recovery. The Galápagos Conservancy is ramping up its efforts to assist the Galápagos National Park Directorate in identifying individuals involved and permanently ending this heinous practice."

The Galápagos Conservancy is looking into the deaths of the 15 tortoises.

The Galápagos tortoises are the world's biggest living tortoise species, reaching up to 919 pounds. They might live for more than a century.

The tortoises and other animals on the islands are well-known, as is Charles Darwin's island usage to formulate his evolutionary ideas.

Also Read: Why is the Galapagos Archipelago Extremely Ecologically Rich?

For the most recent updates from the animal kingdom, don't forget to follow Nature World News!