Courtesy of Madelaine Lock
February 26, 2011
In the summer of 2009, Madelaine Lock of Eustis and her son Jay found themselves observing the giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands. They had taken a cruise to the islands aboard the National Geographic Explorer II, and visited six islands, including Santa Cruz, where the Darwin station is situated. They learned there are two kinds of tortoises on the island. The domed-back tortoises, like this one, can live up to 150 years and weigh 600 pounds; they eat five or six pounds of vegetation daily. The saddle-backed tortoises are smaller and were hunted for food to near-extinction. At the Darwin station, both tortoises are protected and their populations are making a comeback.