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Ecuador is investigating the deaths of 4 Galápagos tortoises that they believe were hunted and eaten. Although killing Galápagos giant tortoises has been prohibited since 1933, the population continues to decline. Experts estimate that there are only about 15,000 giant tortoises left compared to a whopping 200,000 in the 1800s.

Source: BBC Earth/Youtube

The carcasses were found on the island of Isabela, which is the largest of the Gálapagos islands. Last year, 15 deceased Sierra Negra giant tortoises were discovered in the same park. Authorities also believed they were hunted for meat, but no one was ever caught.

Giant tortoises are often preyed on by other species, but they are also threatened by the black market, where tortoise meat is sold. The Galápagos tortoises are having postmortem exams, and the environmental crimes unit is interviewing national park agents.

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