This is a video of two male Galápagos tortoises on the island of Santa Cruz.
From Science News:
Tortoise Genes and Island Beings
Giant Galápagos reptiles on slow road to recovery
Not far from where the Galápagos Islands’ most famous loner spends his days, tourists disembark by the inflatable boatload at a modern dock. A path takes them past marine iguanas sneezing brine from their salt-caked nostrils and striated herons roosting in the red mangroves to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Within the station, another walkway leads to a natural enclosure sheltering a misanthropic Galápagos tortoise named Lonesome George.
The confirmed bachelor has been a potent icon of conservation ever since he was spotted on remote Pinta Island in 1971 and captured the next year by a group of goat hunters. Now in his 60s, 70s, or beyond—no one really knows—George may have lived more than half his life in exile. He is quite likely the world’s last pure-bred Pinta tortoise, one of the dozen or so closely related species that still lumber around the Galápagos, an archipelago of 19 islands and dozens of islets about 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador.
Last April, however, the surprise discovery that Lonesome George has a genetic cousin on another island cast doubt, in a hopeful way, on George’s one-of-a-kind status. The revelation is just one illustration of how genetics and conservation biology are intermingling to rewrite an oversize reptile’s evolutionary past and to reshape plans to safeguard the remaining tortoise species well into the future.
Estimates of how many giant tortoises remain in the Galápagos vary widely, from less than 10,000 to more than 30,000. Nearly everyone agrees that their prospects are improving, however. “If you look at tortoises today compared to 50 years ago, they are so far ahead of where they used to be,” says Linda Cayot, Lonesome George’s former keeper and a scientific adviser to the Falls Church, Va.-based Galápagos Conservancy.
But tortoise conservation may be a rare bright spot in the struggle to protect the fragile Galápagos ecosystem. The archipelago is so revered for its unique marine and terrestrial life that it was the first World Heritage Site chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In late June, the organization’s World Heritage Committee added the caveat “in danger” to the designation to draw attention to mounting threats, including a surge in tourism and rising immigration from Ecuador’s mainland. Increased flights and boat traffic have contributed to a 60 percent escalation in introduced species since 2001.
In April, before the UNESCO announcement, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa acknowledged these concerns by declaring the islands’ ecosystem a national priority for conservation efforts.