The abnormally large tortoises found on the Galapagos Islands look like something from Mario Kart, but they're very real. As a matter of fact, these animals helped Darwin himself create his theory on evolution and his book, The Origin of Species.
With huge, valuable shells, the Galapagos Tortoises were hunted to near extinction before action was taken to prevent these amazing creatures from being crossed off the face of the Earth for good. However, these tortoises have still been facing the threat of being endangered ever since, but now we have hope that things will turn around for them.
In December, for the first time in over 100 years, little baby tortoises were spotted! Biologists believe that these young are a second chance for humanity.
In the mid-18th century, sailors arrived to the Galapagos Island. Little did they know that they would have a huge impact on the remarkable wildlife there. Rats from their ships feasted on the eggs and hatchlings of the giant tortoises, leaving them without a single living offspring for the next couple of decades. Along with their shells being hunted in extreme quantities, the odds didn't look too good for these creatures. In the 1960's, only about 100 tortoises remained. To save this marvelous species from extinction, eggs were collected and raised to full grown tortoises for five years on a different rat-free island, and then transported back to the Galapagos. In 2012, rat poison was distributed by helicopters, and the island was finally declared rat-free.
Only 10 babies were spotted, but biologists say that this is a huge step for the Galapagos tortoises. Keeping in mind projection probabilities, around 100 more little tortoises were predicted to be on the island. An estimated 500 tortoises are now living, and these hatchlings will be able to furthermore increase the population of these incredible animals.