Saving The Giant Turtles

After 19 years of silence, the Blue Hills volcano in the Galapagos Islands has been erupting, and "Operation Turtle" has kicked into high gear.

The volcano's lava has spewed directly into the habitat of the famed Galapagos turtles, an endangered species and the only species of turtle on the islands.

The "Operation Turtle" rescue mission is being carried out by the Ecuadorian Armed Forces and the Galapagos National Park as the lava rushes towards the huge reptiles. The lava already has reached just 200 feet from their breeding grounds.

The volcano is located on Isabel, the largest island in the Galapagos chain.

The turtles, each of which weighs nearly 200 pounds, are being transported to safety by helicopter.
News About Animals

According to the latest statistics, gathered in 1994, there are 735 giant turtles in the Five Hills. One subspecies, known as the "flattened" ones because of the shape of their shells, has dwindled to only 70 turtles.

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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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