The Galapagos turtles are very endangered. Many of them are now living in protected surroundings, like the Charles Darwin Research Station where these turtles are living now. Eggs from Galapagos turtles are hatched here, and the young are cared for until they are about 2 years old. Then they are released back in the wild on the islands where the eggs were taken from.
One very large and very old turtle is the sole survivor of his species from one of the islands. They have named him "Lonesome George", and have placed him in a pen with two much younger but similar in species female turtles, hoping to keep the species from going extinct. While we were there, George approached one of the females and bit her on the backside! Nice touch, George, no wonder you are lonesome! You don't know how to treat a lady!
These female turtles were once pets of people living on the islands. When the entire archepeligo became a national park in 1979, these were taken into custody with the promise to care for them for the rest of their lives. This is a big commitment, because they can live to be 100+ years old! We saw some bickering among the females, one bit the other's neck skin, practically pulling the skin off! Now, ladies, let's behave ourselves!
Males are bigger. This turtle was on a feeding platform in the male turtle's pen.
We saw some more turtles on our last day on Santa Cruz, they were in a protected but more open habitat, fending for themselves for food, instead of being fed.
There were many sea turtles also at the Galapagos, but something happened to my memory card when I was taking their pictures, and I lost my sea turtle pics. Darn! I'm glad I had downloaded the other previous pictures from that card each day when I was finished taking pictures, or I would have lost about half of my pictures.
I used a Canon Digital Rebel, with a 75-300mm imaged stabilized telephoto lens, plus a Canon Power-Shot A470 with a zoom lens. For anyone who wants to use a telephoto lens, I really recommend image stabilization, even though they cost twice as much. Almost all of my shots with the telephoto are sharp and clear, even if cropped. I am very pleased with the results of my photography, even though I use no special photography tricks and use the auto feature of my camera. My Rebel is one of the original digital Rebels, not that many megapixels, but I'm still very pleased with the results. Not bad for an ametuer. I also used a Flip video camera, I have yet to preview those pictures.