I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Charles Darwin Research Station



This was our first opportunity to see the famous giant tortoises of the Galapagos. (The islands are named for the tortoises; galapago is an old Spanish word meaning "saddle," which the shells of the highland species resemble.)

There's nothing in the picture for a sense of scale, so it's not obvious that although these tortoises are doing their best to appear very fierce and scary, they're actually babies, up to a couple of years old, and no more than a foot long, that are part of the captive breeding program at the Charles Darwin Center.

There are ten species of tortoise left. (Lonesome George, a tortoise who was the last member of an eleventh species, died last year without offspring, despite many attempts to breed him to females of closely related species.) Tortoises have a very long lifespan, so the tortoises bred at the Darwin Center live there for many years until they're big enough to be released in the wild.



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