Cylindraspis inepta (Günther)

Saddle-backed Mauritius Giant Tortoise (Cylindraspis inepta)

The Saddle-backed Mauritius Giant Tortoise, as its name implies, was endemic to the island of Mauritius (including several of the smaller offshore islets), Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The species had a saddle-shaped carapace, a somewhat upright stand and was adapted for brousing higher vegetation.

When the Mascarene Islands were settled by Europenas in the 16th century, thousands of the endemic tortoise species were slaughtered for their meat and imported feral animals like cats, pigs and rats fed on the tortoises eggs and hatchlings.

The Saddle-backed Mauritius Giant Tortoise was extinct on Mauritius by the beginning of the 18th century, but a small population survived on the offshore Round Island for some additional decades. This last population, however, was doomed, its small island refuge was overrun by introduced goats and rabbits which finally destroyed the whole vegetation, leaving the tortoises starving to dead at around 1845. 


edited: 19.01.2020