“One of the most impressive creatures in the Galapagos is the giant tortoise. These gentle giant tortoises are known to live more than a hundred years and this longevity has made them famous. This massive animal is endemic to the islands and has speciated into different species. Some of them are adapted to live in very dry islands and others are very common in humid areas. Galapagos gentle giant tortoises do not have any natural enemies in the islands, they can survive long periods of time without food and water, and have successfully colonized the islands, but these traits made them a favourite food source for early sailors.
So many tortoises were taken away from the islands that the populations in the wild became very low, almost to the point of extinction. After difficult conservation efforts, some species of tortoises have been restored and are successfully breeding. In Galapagos cruise expedition, we were very lucky to see around 50 individuals taking mud baths on Santa Cruz Island. “