Charles Darwin Research Station

sights / Other

Charles Darwin Research Station information

Location
Puerto Ayora , Ecuador
More information
www.darwinfoundation.org
Opening hours
6am-6pm
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About a 20-minute walk by road northeast of Puerto Ayora, the Charles Darwin Research Station can also be reached by dry landing from Academy Bay. More than 200 scientists and volunteers are involved with research and conservation efforts, the most well known of which involves a captive breeding program for giant tortoises. It contains a national-park information center; an informative museum where a video in English or Spanish is presented several times a day; a baby-tortoise house with incubators (when they weigh about 1.5kg or are about four years old, the tortoises are repatriated to their home islands) and a walk-in adult tortoise enclosure, where you can meet the Galápagos giants face to face. Several of the 11 remaining subspecies of tortoise can be seen here. Lonesome George , the only surviving member of the Isla Pinta subspecies, has been living here since 1972. Thirty-five years after park rangers first tried to mate George with tortoises of closely related subspecies, two of his longtime female companions finally became pregnant in July, 2008. To the dismay of all, the eggs that were laid proved to be unviable, leaving researchers to return to Isabel to continue their search for closer matched mates.