The Galapagos Tortoise is the most famous animal in the Galapagos Islands and rightly so. The Galapagos Islands were named after their giant tortoises; the old Spanish word galapago meant saddle, a term early explorers used for the tortoises due to the shape of their shells
The tortoise breeding programme in the Galapagos Islands has been extremely successful in repopulating the very endangered tortoise community in the islands. Today, around 20,000 tortoises roam the islands. In 1959 when the islands were declared a national park, there were only around 5000 tortoises remaining. The majority of their subspecies were also considered to be endangered due to their small population. You can visit the breeding stations in Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island and San Cristóbal Island to learn more about conservation efforts to help save these vulnerable creatures. There are currently 12 sub-species in the Galapagos Archipelago.