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Butchered Galapagos tortoises, 1900s

Butchered Galapagos tortoises, 1900s

C026/3070

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Credit

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Butchered Galapagos tortoises. Shells and remains of Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra) killed by sailors and oil hunters. These giant tortoises are found on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Before they were protected by conservationists, they were exploited as a source of food and oil. They were captured alive and kept on ships until needed. From the 19th century onwards, much of the killing was for the tortoise oil. It is estimated that over 200,000 of these tortoises were killed by humans prior to the 20th century. Photographed circa 1903.

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