344-Year-Old Tortoise Dies In Ogbomoso

A  tortoise popularly known as Alagba at the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso in Oyo State is dead.

The 344-year-old sacred tortoise said to be the oldest in Africa was sick for a few days before its death on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Oyo Govt Receives South Africa Returnees, Gives N30,000 Each

Alagba became a popular breed upon the ascension of the throne of the current Soun of Ogbomoso land, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi.

The monarch provided good shelter and health support for the tortoise before it died.

A Private Secretary to Oba Oyewumi, Toyin Ajamu said the tortoise, which attracted tourists from different parts of the world would be missed not only by people in the palace but everyone who came in contact with it.

The palace secretary explained that plans are underway to preserve Alagba’s body for historical records.

Giant Tortoise Thought To Be Extinct Found On Galapagos

This handout photograph obtained February 21, 2019 courtesy of Animal Planet shows biologist Forrest Galante with the Fernandina Tortoise, thought to have been extinct, found on a volcanic island on February 17, 2019, in the Galapagos archipelago. Mark ROMANOV, John Harrington / Animal Planet / AFP


Conservationists in the Galapagos Islands have found a giant tortoise from a species thought to have become extinct more than a century ago.

The adult female tortoise was found on the island of Fernandina in the west of the Pacific archipelago, and is believed to be a Fernandina Giant Tortoise, also known as Chelonoidis phantasticus, a species last sighted in 1906.

The tortoise is believed to be about 100 years old. It was taken by boat to the main Galapagos conservation center on Santa Cruz island.

The animal “exceeds 100 years” in age and is “a very old tortoise,” said Washington Tapia of Galapagos Conservancy, a US non-profit dedicated to conserving the Galapagos.

The islands are best known for their unique flora and fauna, which inspired naturalist Charles Darwin to write his landmark 1859 study on evolution, The Origin of Species.

Ecuador’s Environment Minister Marcelo Mata announced on Twitter the discovery of a specimen “of the tortoise species Chelonoidis phantasticus, which was believed to have gone extinct more than 100 years ago.”

A ministry statement said conservationists were hopeful other members of the species were on the island, judging by tracks and spores they found.

Genetic tests will be carried out to confirm the tortoise was indeed a member of the long-lost species, it said.

The Chelonoidis phantasticus species is native to Fernandina, which is uninhabited, topped by an active volcano, and one of the youngest islands in the chain.

It is one of 15 known species of giant tortoises in the Galapagos, at least two of which have already vanished.

Any remaining Fernandina tortoises may be separated from each other by recent lave flows, researchers said.

In 2015, the Galapagos authorities announced the discovery of a new species of tortoise that they called Chelonoidis donfaustoi, named after Fausto Llerena, the park ranger who for 40 years looked after Lonesome George, the iconic last tortoise of his Pinta species, who died in 2012.

George become an icon of the islands, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of South America.

Scientists tried to save George’s species by breeding him with females from a related species, but their eggs failed to hatch. After his death, his body was stuffed and is currently displayed at the Charles Darwin Research Center in the Galapagos.

Giant tortoises are believed to have arrived on the remote volcanic island chain about three to four million years ago, borne by ocean currents. With no natural predators, they spread across the islands and split into different species.

Their numbers were decimated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by sailors who took advantage of their ability to endure long periods without food or water to use them as easily stored fresh meat on Pacific voyages.

Their numbers were also hit by invasive species such as rats, pigs and dogs, which eat their eggs, while other introduced domestic animals like goats destroyed their habitat.

In captivity, the giant tortoises can easily live to more than 100 years.

Scientists have discovered that the tortoises have genetic variants linked to DNA repair, with healing power that enables their longevity.


Militant Group Surrenders Arms To JTF In Yenogoa

A militant group in Bayelsa State whose sole aim of handing over weapons ranging from ranging from guns, ammunitions, live tortoise and other fetish materials is to stop the violence being inflicting on the Niger Delta region and also partake in the 3rd phase of the amnesty program has done exactly that as they handed over their weapons to the Joint Taskforce (Operation Pulo) shield in Yenagoa on Friday, as they gave up the struggle.

The group, led by Inaemi David, 31, who is the head and commander of the group confessed to carrying out numerous attacks on oil pipelines in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

David, who led members of his group to the JTF Headquarters in Yenagoa on Friday including a female member who was put in charge of the handover process, said they decided to surrender their weapons because of their resolve to embrace peace and live normal lives.

“We realised there is no peace in our lives; we felt tired of living a life of militancy, so we approached the JTF and informed them of our resolve to surrender our arms and munitions. After due consultations, we were convinced that if we take this positive step to surrender our weapons, it will bring the dawn of a new life for us,” David said.

David now repentant claimed that he leads an army of over 50 foot soldiers in the Niger Delta struggle and it was frustration and deprivation in the region that a lot of the youth into the militancy thing.

“We went into militancy not to kill but to show our frustration to the government. We want the government to know that the Niger Delta people have a right to the possession of our resources,” he said.

David bore it all on arrival to the base of the Joint task force (Operation Puloshield) in Yenagoa, as he disclosed the location of the militant group which he claimed is at the creeks of Odioma Community of Brass Local Government Area of the state as he advised the FG to create employment for the Niger Delta youth as this is a lasting solution to the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta as there are still other splinter groups of militants in the creeks who are not ready to relinquish their weapons.

After the handover of the weapons by the Ianemi David-led militant group, the Public Relations Officer of the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Onyeama swung into action by inspecting the items and after the inspection he listed them as the head commandant of the JTF Major General Batta Debiro applauded the decision of the militants to voluntarily surrender their arms.

The JTF are optimistic that this willing surrender by the militant group will mark the beginning of many more to come.