A British conservationist has captured amazing images of giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands – including pictures where tourists show just how large the animals are.
As well as showcasing the sheer size of these magnificent creatures, other stunning photos reveal the beautiful landscape where these prehistoric beasts live.
The photographs were taken in the Galapagos Islands, in Ecuador, by Devon-born wildlife photographer Pete Oxford. Pete, who has lived in Ecuador for the past thirty-one years, captured the images with a Nikon D810.
He has published three books on Galapagos and now leads tours there with his company Focus Expeditions. “I have been visiting the islands regularly since 1986,” he said. “I asked some of my friends to climb into an old giant tortoise shell to give a sense of scale to the live animals.”
In one photograph, a giant tortoise has pitched up next to a set of camping tents, eager to join in the campfire sing-song. These spectacular creatures are the Galapagos’ dominant herbivore and the male species can reach up to six-hundred pounds in weight.
He hopes that his images portray that the giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands are doing well again. “After the massive eradications of introduced mammal herbivores such as donkeys and goats, vegetation has now returned to provide better food for the tortoises,” he said. “In other parts of the world there are many tortoise species that are in serious decline.”
His tour passengers usually have a similar reaction when they see this species for the first time: “Wow! They are bigger than I thought.”
For information about Pete’s tours, please see: focusexpeditions.com