Episode Extra: Visit a Galapagos Tortoise Breeding Center (VIDEO)

[Click on the image above to watch the video]

When you hear about the rare and spectacular wildlife that populates Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, invariably you’ll hear a lot about the fascinating Galapagos giant tortoises.

galapagos giant tortoisesThey are one of the many species of animals endemic to the Galapagos, meaning you can’t find them anywhere else in the world. And as it happens we’re extremely lucky to still have them around today at all. It’s estimated that there were as many as 250,000 giant tortoises living among the islands back when explorers first reached the Galapagos in the 16th century, but we humans came dangerously close to wiping them out completely over the next few hundred years. The turtles were used for food. We destroyed much of their natural habitat as we cleared the land for agriculture. And we introduced a number of non-native animals like pigs, goats and rats that all helped us drive the turtles to the brink of extinction. In fact as recently as the 1970s the giant tortoise population had dropped to a staggering few: only about 3,000 were left alive. Incredible.

But thankfully the tortoise population is bouncing back, thanks in large part to the passing of legislation protecting the animals, and the efforts of the folks at a handful of giant tortoise breeding centers located in the Galapagos. We were lucky to visit a couple such centers, one on the island of Santa Cruz, and the one featured in the video above: the Centro de Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza near the town of Puerto Villamil on the big island of Isabela.

So check out this short video from our tour of the center, and see and learn more about these remarkable creatures.

Cheers gang! And happy travels. 🙂

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