Eight antibiotics have been shown to be less effective on giant Galapagos turtles, which live in the eponymous Ecuadorian archipelago, due to contact with humans, the Charles Darwin Foundation (FCD) announced on June 28, 2021 from the findings. study.
“Antibiotic resistance is spreading around the world”
According to this research, turtles that share their habitats with humans, especially in agricultural, urban and tourist areas, show a higher amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for human or veterinary use. “Turtles that live in remote areas and without interaction with humans (…) show less resistanceThe FCD states in a statement. The study was conducted by scientists from various organizations, several Spanish universities, the zoo of St. Louis in the United States and the Galapagos National Park. Analyzes were conducted on the feces of 270 turtles living on the islands of Alcedo and Santa Cruz, the most populous in the archipelago. “Antibiotic resistance is spreading around the world, causing an invisible pandemic that threatens the health and treatment of human and animal diseases“, underlines Ainoa Nieto Claudin, a researcher at the FCD and the Saint-Louis Zoo.
Pandemic Covid-19 “increased the use of antibiotics and consequently the emergence of resistant bacteria worldwide“, the scientist continues.”The close cohabitation of animals and humans creates an ideal scenario for resistant bacteria to come into contact with wildlife and contaminate their habitats, continuing the cycle of resistance transmission.“, she adds. According to a study published in the journal Environmental pollution, resistance values found are “still low“, which suggests that”we are facing a situation that could be reversible“if the use of antibiotics is regulated and reduced in the archipelago.
An archipelago classified as a world natural heritage site
The Galapagos Islands, located 1,000 km off the Ecuadorian coast, are home to twelve species of giant tortoises. Three are missing. The turtles first arrived in the volcanic archipelago three or four million years ago. Sea currents would scatter their specimens on different islands, thus revealing several species. Endowed with flora and fauna unique in the world, the archipelago, classified as a World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve, served as a training ground for the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) to develop a theory of species evolution.