Top List of Things To Do in Quito, Ecuador
During our Galapagos Islands tour, we definitely ended up #HangingWithTurtles. We actually hung with turtles and tortoises, the Giant Tortoises to be exact. Galapagos is home to the largest tortoises in the world and we got to see them in the wild in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. This guy kept his head out of his shell long enough for us to capture a few pictures while he ate his grass.
Once a thriving species in the Galapagos Islands, with an estimated 250,000 strong, the tortoises almost went extinct, down to 3,000.
The damage was done from hunting for their meat and oils, the introduction of agriculture and other non-native animals such as rats, pigs, cattle, goats and dogs.
Many of the species still can’t breed on their own in the islands, because the eggs are dug up by non-native animals or trampled on by large cattle. And considering tortoises remain very small for several years with soft shells, they are stil very susceptible to their predators.
Today, breeding stations on the islands keep newborn tortoises for 7-11 years before releasing them in the wild.
With agriculture, tourism and population continuing to grow on the islands, tortoises will continue to remain a vulnerable species. Be sure to experience the giant tortoise during your Ecuador travel.