Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos tortoiseThe Galapagos giant tortoise species encompasses 14 subspecies of which 10 still remain in the wild.  Growing to a length of up to 4 feet, and reaching ages well over 100 years, the Galapagos tortoise population is considered vulnerable primarily due to predation of offspring by invasive species such as cats and rats, and competition for food by goats.  Populations were at one time under threat from passing sailors, and the threats as a whole have contributed to their decline.

Estimated population in the year 1535 was 250,000 tortoises

Population in the year 2008 was a mere 6% (15,000) of their former numbers.

Number bred in captivity and released into the wild in 2000 was 1,000 tortoises.

Population by subspecies and island:

Santiago has  800 surviving tortoises
Pinzon  has 300 tortoises
Santa Cruz with 3000 tortoises
San Cristobal populated with 700 tortoises
Española population has recovered to 2,000 tortoises with captive breeding program
Isabela Island is unique in that each of its 5 volcanoes has a separate subspecies: Cerro Azul with about 700, Sierra Negra with 500, Alcedo has 5000, Darwin has 1000 and Wolf Volcano with 2000 tortoises.
Pinta has only 1 remaining tortoise aptly named ‘Lonesome George’. George has been relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station for protection and a breeding/recovery program.

Data: Galapagos Conservation trust

About The Author

Scott serves as Director of Development & Communications for Audubon Canyon Ranch (focusing on preservation, education and conservation science) and has almost fifteen years of experience spanning for-profit and nonprofit sectors in biotech, wildlife conservation and management, communications, and philanthropy. In addition to a strong track record in organizational growth and leadership, he is the founder of Urban Bird Foundation and Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, and presided over ECHO Fund, a coastal protection and restoration organization, as President for four years. Scott holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy, degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology and Environmental Sciences, and has complemented his studies with a Master's certificate in Environmental Resource Management.

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