There are several breeding center programs in the Galapagos tours usually take you to at least one of them, in order for you to see the work being done in view of wildlife conservation. Sadly, Lonesome George is no longer an attraction, and those who were able to meet him during their Galapagos cruise adventure can certainly consider themselves honored.
There were originally 14 Galapagos tortoise subspecies. Only 10 remain today… with a population of 35,000 individuals, much less than half of what is estimated populated the islands when the whalers first arrived.
Galapagos Park conservation experts pick up newly laid eggs from the different islands and take them to a breeding center (such as La Galapaguera or the Charles Darwin Research Station), to protect them from introduced species in the Galapagos Islands that will eat the eggs, destroy vegetation and attack the newborn reptiles.
After around five years of captivity, the baby tortoises are reintroduced to the wild, since their shells are hard enough to withstand predator attacks. A chip is also located on their legs in order for them to be monitored. It seems a very high number of these reintroduced species survive without problem.
Galapagos cruises offer grand opportunities to find Galapagos tortoises in the wild. Some of the best places to see them, depending on the time of year, are the Santa Cruz Highlands or Urbina Bay on Isabela… many may already have their very own breeding center success story. It is no secret that the Galapagos giant tortoise reintroduction program is one of the Galapagos National Park most successful endeavor.