In 2015, the Eastern Santa Cruz Tortoise was designated as its own separate species from the Western Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise. Named for a Park Ranger whotirelessly cared for tortoises for many decades – Don Fausto Llerena – this species is Critically Endangered largely due to poaching. The Eastern Santa Cruz Tortoise typically migrates to higher, moister zones to find plants to eat and then moves to lower, drier areas to dig their nests. They are known to only nest in one area that is now overrun by invasive fire ants that attack eggs and young hatchlings. Non-native donkeys also eat much of the cactus the tortoise needs for food.
The Eastern Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise is the 3rd largest Galápagos Giant Tortoise species. It has a domed shell (carapace) with a higher, more compressed shape than its cousin.
By adopting an Eastern Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise, you are protecting Giant Tortoises on the most populated island from the threats of poaching and invasive species. Envision with us a future for Galápagos that is wild and sustainable for both people and nature.