Female Galapagos Tortoise, Geochelone nigra
Part of the captive breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, this female giant tortoise is helping to ensure the survival of her endangered species. Though her legs and body are the typical smoke gray common to most of the tortoises, the colorful markings on her face are distinct to her. And what a beauty she is!
The only endemic threat to the giant Galapagos tortoise is the Galapagos hawk, which eats the eggs and hatchlings. However, the tortoises were devastated by introduced species (cats, goats, rats, dogs, etc.) and seafarers. Because the tortoises can survive six months or more without food or water, they were a favorite ready-made "box lunch" for sailors. By 1900, an estimated 200,000 of the reptiles had been stacked on ships to be used as provisions at sea.
This is a limited edition photograph with a total of 250 photos printed across all sizes, as noted