The Charles Darwin Research Station has a rearing in captivity program for the famous giant tortoises. In this program conservationists raise juvenile tortoises in captivity for three-to-four years, and then release them on the island where they belong. Over the years, the Tortoise Rearing program has repatriated over 2500 tortoises raised in captivity to many islands, and today repatriates tortoises to Espaņola, Pinzon, Santa Cruz and Santiago islands. In recent years, a large breeding center has been established on southern Isabela Island where there are threatened giant tortoise populations. Our visit to the Darwin Research Foundation helped us understand the conservation efforts promoted by this institution, while here we strolled among an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest where endemic land birds could be seen.
Conservation of the Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station