Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea)

This giant tortoise species is named after one of the largest atolls in the world, Aldabra, which is also its last stronghold after centuries of human exploitation. The Aldabra atoll is part of the Seychelles archipelago, but is far very south (more 1100 km southwest of Mahe) and difficult to get to for those very few who can obtain a permit to go there. This means that this species is well protected, but rising sea levels will at one time drown the island, albeit later than those very low-lying islands just a couple of meters high. Aldabra is 8 meters at its highest.

The Alabra tortoise has been relocated to several of the Seychelles islands and thrive there. This is shot on Bird Island where some 20 individuals are thriving. Fortunately many of the islands of the Seychelles are resistant to sea level rise as only the coasts will be submerged, which means that at least a portion of the species will be able to continue to thrive, albeit at a higher elevation than that of past aeons. With a population of some 100 000 on the Aldabra Atoll it’s going to be a slow and terrible worsening of their living conditions as sea levels rise, and only the future will show how humanity will respond to their worsening conditions.

Last updated on 20 October 2021