Pradeep Bansal | Giant Tortoises
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The giant tortoise is now seen only on two islands, the Galapagos and the Seychelles. It can grow to be over 400 lbs in size and can live to 150 years or more. The saddle-back tortoise is unique to the Galapagos (the word Galapagos itself is derived from the spanish word for saddle - galapago) and Lonesome George is the most famous of these, being the only one of its kind, from Pinta Island, left in the world. Once numbering in the millions, they are now an endangered species with only a few thousand left. Pirates and whalers in the past decimated their population by using them for food (stacked upside down like dinner plates in the ships' hold, the tortoises could live for over a year without food or water). To add to their misery, the city of Guayaquill in Ecuador used their oil to light the street lamps. Now they are protected and re-bred in carefully monitored hatcheries to ensure their survival.
In the CorrallIn the CorrallMud BathDefensive postureDefensive postureFeedingFeedingFeedingSaddleback tortoise