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Galápagos Giant Tortoise at Cerro Azul

Making it Count: Giant Tortoise Census Sheds Light on Endangered Populations

Galapagos Conservancy is collaborating with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, (GNPD) to undertake an ambitious project that includes the first comprehensive census of Cerro Azul Giant Tortoises populations () on Isabela Island. In a period of 10 days, 2,222 tortoises that are endemic to Cerro Azul Volcano have been marked and evaluated.

Dr. Jorge Carrion is Director of Conservation for Galapagos Conservancy with Conservando Galapagos. He stated that while the species’ population has been negatively affected by the presence invasive species like guava or feral pigs but that the “expedition results have been positive and provide valuable data about the number of tortoises, the icons of Galapagos”, said that the expedition had provided useful information.

Washington Tapia is the General Director of Galapagos Conservancy. He also works with Conservando Galapagos. To determine the phylogenetic relationships between the various tortoise populations, blood samples were taken. Feces samples were also taken to examine their diet and contribution towards seed dispersal.

Galapagos Conservancy has a commitment to strengthening conservation efforts and protecting this species from invasive species. It is vital to conduct scientific expeditions to remote areas like Cerro Azul volcano in order to understand the status of Giant Tortoises’ population and ensure the conservation of this rare species.

Group of Galápagos Giant Tortoises at Cerro Azul
Group of Galápagos Giant Tortoises at Cerro Azul © Galápagos Conservancy