Aldabra Giant Tortoises In Mauritius Island Of Ile aux Aigrettes, Helps In Ecosystem Restoration

By on May 1, 2011 in Animals, Environment, Science Comments
Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Image Credit: Green Diary

Wildlife scientists released several Aldabra giant tortoises in Mauritius island since 2000 to replace the extinct tortoise species in the area, according to a Live Science report by Wynne Parry.

Aldabra giant tortoises, usually weighs up to 661 pounds (300 kgs), were placed in an island called Ile aux Aigrettes. By 2009, the number of giant tortoises in the area, has increased to 19.

Researchers observed that the giant tortoises helped in the dispersal of growing trees in the area. Giant tortoises ate the fruit of non-native plants and helped in spreading the seeds.

According to Christine Griffiths, a research associate at the University of Bristol and lead author of the tortoise experiment in the Mauritius island in collaboration with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, only few ripe fruits were left under the ebony trees because the giant tortoises eat them. However, dense patches of seedlings can now be seen in the areas where the tortoises stay.

Griffiths‘ group observed, that seeds that passed through a tortoise’s gut germinates better than other seeds in the area.

The research study will now determine if the tortoise-dispersed ebony seedlings will fully grow into adult trees that can reproduce.

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