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614 Giant Tortoise Nests Protected This Year

December 18, 2018

tortoise nests

In the five giant tortoise nesting areas of Santa Cruz Island, rangers from the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) have been carrying out protection activities to provide an opportunity for the survival of baby tortoises in 614 natural nests around the island.

Groups of four park rangers venture daily into the protected areas to reach the sites known as La Torta, La Caseta, Peligro, Cerro Gallina and Cerro Fatal. The technicians control pigs, felines, donkeys and feral goats to avoid the predation of eggs and tortoise hatchlings. Each nest is protected with galvanized mesh of one square meter topped with heavy stones to prevent it from being removed by the introduced animals.

Introduced ants (Solenopsis geminata) are another problem in the nesting areas. This year, park rangers have placed control baits on seven hectares bordering the nests to prevent small insects from killing hatchlings before leaving their nest.

Through the protection of nests, the GNPD is contributing to the conservation and restoration of the island’s ecosystems with the aim of protecting the health of populations of native species.

Content based on a press release from the GNPD, translated with their permission.

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