Aid at hand for hot tortoises

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) - International assistance was due on the Galapagos island of Isabela this weekend to help put out fires that have burnt thousands of acres of the largest island in the Galapagos chain.

Ecuador is preparing for the evacuation of a colony of giant tortoises, which have so far escaped the blaze that began on 12 April. About 6,000 of the 10,000 existing Galapagos tortoises live on Isabela. Officials said they will need six aircraft with watertanks to make air- drops to extinguish the fire.

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