We are very pleased to announce that 86 young Española giant tortoises (Chelonoidis hoodensis) from the Fausto Llerena Rearing Center on Santa Cruz, have found their new home on their native Española Island. This is another important step towards the restoration of nature on Española Island. The project is being carried out by the Galápagos National Park Authority together with our partner organization from the USA, the Galápagos Conservancy.
The population of Española giant tortoises was close to extinction in 1960 with 15 animals. Through the breeding project "Iniciativa Galápagos", the population of the endemic tortoises has since recovered to about 3,000 animals.
As "gardeners of the Galápagos Islands", the tortoises have an important task in the renaturation process. The young tortoises distribute the seeds of important plants on the island with their droppings and thus ensure a rich flora. The adult tortoises push down the plants in forested areas with their large bodies, creating pathways in the dense vegetation. These paths serve as runways for the Galápagos albatrosses, which they urgently need when nesting on Española.
Photo by Doris Hölling