In the 1960s, the population of Española tortoises declined to only 15 individuals. But thanks to incredible conservation efforts by Galápagos Conservancy, the Galápagos National Park Directorate, and other partners to remove invasive goats, end tortoise hunting, and captively raise young tortoises, 3,000 tortoises now roam freely on Española. In 2020, the original 15 Española Giant Tortoises were returned back home to the island after bringing their species back from the brink of extinction.
Española Tortoises are known for their saddleback shells which are typical of tortoises that live in arid habitats. These tortoises depend heavily on the Opuntia cactus for food, water, calcium to grow their shells, and especially shade during the hot season. Española giant tortoises are the smallest of the saddleback Galápagos Giant Tortoise species. Another key characteristic of Española Tortoises is their yellow chin and throat.
By adopting an Española Giant Tortoise, you are participating in one of the most successful conservation efforts the world has ever known. Your adoption will rewild the entire island, since Española Giant Tortoises are known to shape their ecosystems and build habitat for other species, such as the Waved Albatross.