Isla Santa Cruz

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
Trip End May 23, 2008

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

The highlight of today was seeing giant land tortoises in the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz We visited the private Rancho Miraposa where we found one female and two male land tortoises. These guys were pretty big, so they were probably well over a hundred years old. It was amazing to watch these guys grazing in the tall grass, thinking that they could have been grazing in that same field before the 20th century.

Back at the ranch house, our guide Socrates showed us a shell found on the property some time ago, and Holly and Bill even tried it on for size.

In the afternoon, we visited the Darwin Research Station where (among other things) they breed giant land tortoises. Except they arenīt very giant when they are babies. They are quite teeny and very cute.

We also got to meet Lonesome George. Unless any of you happen to have a female tortoise from Pinta Island, George is the last survivor of his morphotype. When George dies, only 10 of the original 14 subspecies will exist, and the giant tortoise will be officially extinct from Pinta, Fernandina, Santa Fe, and Floreana.

Itīs a sobering fact, but watching baby tortoises is sure to lift your spirits.
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