Conservation / Giant Tortoise
It had been assumed for more than a century that the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Dipsochelys dussumieri, was the only surviving species of giant tortoise on the Indian Ocean islands. After several reports of oddly shaped tortoises, the Nature Protection Trust of the Seychelles started research on these tortoises. Examination of museum specimens of the 'extinct' Seychelles species by Dr. Justin Gerlach and Laura Canning confirmed that some living tortoises showed the characteristics of a species thought to be extinct for 120 years! These tortoises are now the subject of a conservation program. This includes a captive breeding program on Silhouette Island. Last year about 30 juvenile tortoises hatched and were subsequently released into a new out-door enclosure.