With the rangers of SNPA and other conservation partners watching, 10 out of the 37 baby tortoises were recently injected with the grain-size electronic device.

“At five months or so the tortoises all look the same but using a scanner we can easily identify each of them individually,” said Ms Mortimer.

Curieuse, which became a National Park in 1979, has not had new juvenile giant tortoises for almost a year after thieves stole 23 out of 28 babies in July.

The remaining juveniles were pit-tagged individuals, which according to Ms Mortimer has prevented them from being stolen too.

In the past five months, vigorous monitoring all over the island -- where tortoises roam free and are more abundant than humans -- has allowed authorities to collect the newborns. They are great attractions for day visitors on Curieuse, located only a few minutes away from Praslin.

With a life span of over 100 and a gigantic herbivorous appetite, one might think that giant tortoises are not on the top list of pets in Seychelles.

Yet, the attractions of having this reptile at a tourism establishment have made giant tortoises a must-have in the archipelago where tourism remains the main pillar of the economy.

At fist-size, a giant tortoise can be sold to private owners for about $200 to $400 while bigger ones are often given away.

The theft in July last year caused much discontent on Curieuse, which has one of the largest populations of giant tortoises in the country.

The case, which has not yet been solved, has taught Anto Suzette, the senior ranger responsible for the management of the National Park, to be more cautious.

Mr Suzette says officials have reinforced well-meshed cages where the babies are located and have increased vigilance during and after visiting hours.

“It is a shame that visitors have to see them through cages but if this means we have more tortoises in the future, then that’s the way it will be.”

Once a leper colony, Curieuse is currently home to 128 adult giant tortoises, who have all been tagged as a means of reducing illegal