tortoises are the most famous wildlife in
the Galapogas Islands and the islands are called
'Galapogas' after them.
Chato Tortoise Reserve, Santa Cruz Island -
photo with thanks to Roz Gordon
different subspecies of giant Galapogas land tortoise endemic to single
or to parts of one island. The giant land
tortoise subspecies are slightly different shapes, adapted to suit the
landscape of their particular island habitat. Giant
Galapogas tortoises can weigh up to 250kgs and live for more than 150
Galapogas tortoise eats a range of different plants and fruits
were once as many as a quarter of a million giant Galapogas land
tortoises in the islands but nineteenth century whalers took many
thousands of them onto their whaling ships as a source of fresh meat.
The giant tortoises were kept upside down in the hold and
could survive like that until the tortoise meat was needed.
There are now only around 15,000 Galapogas tortoises left and
three of the giant tortoise subspecies have been wiped out completely.
with Galapogas Hawk
most famous giant Galapagos tortoise was Lonesome George, who lived at
the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island. He was
thought to be the last pure Pinta tortoise in existence (though this is
now disputed), so with his death in 2012, another subspecies of giant
Galapogas tortoise may have disappeared. Lonesome George was
believed to be around 100 years old when he died.
A giant Galapogas tortoise
heading to a pool for a drink
Tortoise Photo Gallery
Giant Galapogas tortoise main photo
photos from the Galapogas Islands