Eight antibiotics are less effective in the giant tortoises that give name to the Galápagos archipelago, in Ecuador’s Pacific, because of the presence of humans, reported on Monday (28) the Charles Darwin Foundation (FCD), which works for the conservation of the islands .
The foundation pointed out that an investigation showed that turtles that share their habitat with people, whether in agricultural, urban or tourist areas, have a greater number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics for human and veterinary use.
“Turtles that live in remote areas and do not interact with human beings, such as the Alcedo volcano, on Isabela Island, have less resistance,” the NGO added in a statement.
She indicated that scientists from various institutions, such as universities in Spain, the Zoo of Saint Louis and the Galápagos National Park, reached this conclusion after analyzing fecal samples from 270 giant tortoises from Alcedo and the island of Santa Cruz, the most populated in the country. archipelago.
“Antibiotic resistance is spreading around the world, causing an invisible pandemic that compromises the health and the treatment of human and animal diseases”, explains Ainoa Nieto Claudín, a researcher at the FCD and the Institute of Medicine of the Saint Louis Zoo.
She added that the covid-19 pandemic “has increased the use of antibiotics and, consequently, the emergence of resistant bacteria worldwide.”
“The close coexistence between animals and humans creates the perfect scenario for resistant bacteria to come into contact with wild species and contaminate their habitat, perpetuating the resistance transmission cycle,” he said.
FCD specified that according to the study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, the resistance values found are “still low”, suggesting that “we are still facing a situation that could be reversible” if the use of antibiotics is regulated and reduced in Galapagos.
On the Ecuadorian islands, located 1,000 km from the coast, there are still twelve species of giant tortoises, five of which live on Isabela Island.
In addition, three species that inhabited the Santa Fé, Floreana and Pinta islands disappeared.
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