The driver of a tour bus on the Galapagos Islands has been fined over $11,000 for having accidentally run over a tortoise in danger of extinction, damaging the creature’s shell.
The incident occurred This particular past November 21, when the driver of the bus hit a giant tortoise belonging to an endangered species. After an administrative trial carried out by the directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG), the driver was sentenced November 29 to a fine of $11,347, which corresponds to 16 times the man’s monthly salary payment.
As stated inside the Galapagos National Park Facebook account, the incident caused “the partial destruction of the shell of a female turtle of the species Chelonoidis porteri,” or the Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise, one of 11 surviving species of Galapagos tortoises. The driver accepted responsibility for the accident, while stressing which he had not seen the tortoise.
In assigning the sentence, the judge cited the Convention for International Commerce of Threatened Species of Flora as well as Fauna (CITES), according to which the tortoise will be registered as a member of a protected species in danger of extinction.
In recent years the authorities of the Galapagos Islands, a Pacific archipelago which forms a province of the nation of Ecuador, have tightened laws to protect the region’s fragile ecosystem where numerous indigenous species of animals as well as plants live. The management of the Natural Park recently opened an investigation against a citizen filmed on the pier of San Cristóbal while allegedly harassing a sea lion.
Despite the harm to her shell, the turtle’s life will be reportedly not in danger as well as photos of the healing tortoise have been published on social media (see above).
Last March, conservationists released 155 giant tortoises on the Galapagos island of Santa Fe to help replace a similar species which died out 150 years ago.
The young tortoises, of the breed Chelonoidis hoodensis (Espanola Giant Tortoise), were raised at the Fausto Llerena breeding center as part of a program to repopulate the island.
The animals are “between 10 as well as 12 years old as well as should start to reproduce inside the next a few to seven years,” said Washington Tapia, who will be in charge of Galapagos Conservancy’s giant turtle project.
The Galapagos islands, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are known for their unique flora as well as fauna, which helped inspire Charles Darwin to write his 1859 study on evolution, The Origin of Species.