Tuesday, October 6, 1998 Published at 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Airlifting the giant tortoise
Puzzled but safe from the molten lava
A rescue operation has been launched to save the unique giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands, which are under threat from volcanic eruption.
Two weeks ago the volcano on the largest island, Isabela, begun spewing molten lava, producing a river about 3km long and 50m wide that passed closed to the area where the slow-moving giant tortoises make their homes, killing at least one.
Under "Operation Tortoise", Ecuador's armed forces have begun moving those most at risk to safer parts of the island.
Eleven of the creatures - each weighing up to 100kg - have been airlifted to safety in the past few days.
A vanishing rare species
They were found by Charles Darwin when he visited the Galápagos a century ago and developed his theory of evolution.
The authorities say that in the next few days they are planning to move another 14 tortoises away from danger.