Galápagos giant tortoise, Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos islands, Ecuador.
A Galápagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra, formerly Geochelone elephantopus) rests its long neck by a pool of water at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS, operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation) in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos islands, Ecuador, South America. This species is the largest living tortoise and is native to seven islands of the Galápagos archipelago. Fully grown adults can weigh over 300 kilograms (661 lb) and measure 1.5 meters (5 feet) over the curve of the shell. They are long-lived with a life expectancy of up to 100-150 years in the wild. Populations fell dramatically because of hunting and the introduction of predators and grazers by humans since the 1600s. Only ten subspecies of the original twelve exist in the wild. Since Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation were established, hundreds of captive-bred juveniles have been released back onto their home islands.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download