Isabela Island is one of four inhabited islands within the Galapagos Archipelago. It boasts the most vibrant biodiversity. The iconic giant tortoises of the island are being protected with significant efforts. These magnificent creatures are vital to the Galapagos ecosystems and biodiversity. These tortoises are important, but they face constant challenges in their quest for survival.
We are committed to protecting these giant tortoises as part of the Galapagos Conservancy-funded project, “Strengthening Responsiveness of the Galapagos National Park Directorate and its Management Capacity in Protected Areas.”
Our initiative includes the revitalization and protection of the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, located in Puerto Villamil. This is a vital sanctuary for these majestic creatures. The center was established in 1997 and covers two hectares. It is dedicated to breeding giant tortoises. The activities are successful because of the dedication of park rangers, volunteers and a conservation officer from the Galapagos Conservancy.
In 2020, the Center began its first optimization phase. We made major improvements to the incubation system and the juvenile tortoise pen. Our efforts are currently focused on improving the breeding pens. This includes the ramps, pools and feeding areas. These actions are aimed at providing optimal conditions for tortoises to breed. These improvements have made it easier to care for tortoises effectively while minimising unnecessary disruptions.
Washington Tapia our General Director, stressed that the Isabela Breeding Center along with the ones on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands serve as a conservation tool to help recover the most endangered species and are an important contributor for the Galapagos economy. The center is popular with tourists and local families.
When they return to the natural habitats, captive-born tortoises can play a significant role in ecosystem engineering. By dispersing their seeds, they actively contribute to the dynamics of plant community dynamics. This cycle highlights the close connection between these animals, and the health of the Galapagos eco-systems.
The upgrades made to the “Arnaldo Tupiza” Breeding Center are intended to improve the facilities and demonstrate a renewed commitment towards the conservation of giant tortoises. Every effort is made to keep these magnificent creatures on a path of recovery and harmony coexistence.
Galapagos Conservancy is able to protect and conserve the unique biodiversity in the archipelago thanks to the generous donations of our supporters and conservationists. Isabela Island’s Breeding Center has been optimized to ensure that giant tortoises can thrive in the future, continue to shape their habitats and become one of southern Isabela Island’s primary animals.