Thieves have stolen 123 baby giant tortoises from a breeding facility in the Galapagos Islands, where they are revered as a lumbering symbol of the region’s unique biodiversity and a reminder of how Charles Darwin conceived his theory of natural selection.
« They were all taken at once, 123 in all. It was a robbery, » Washington Paredes, a local politician, told the AFP news agency.
The islands are famous for their flora and fauna. Their 3,000 square miles are a protected habitat and home to dozens of species of animal found nowhere else on the planet.
That draws thousands of tourists every year but has also made the exotic species a target of wildlife criminals.
Mr Paredes complained that the facility where the theft occurred was poorly protected, with no security cameras or light sensors.