Jan 12, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Right in the heart of the Galápagos archipelago, Santa Cruz is quite different from all the other islands we have visited so far. Its high peaks collect moisture from the passing clouds, which means the highlands remain green all year round. There is a large population of dome-carapaced giant tortoises which migrate between the lowlands and the highlands, through the farming zone, in order to find suitable foraging and nesting grounds.
Puerto Ayora, the largest town of the archipelago, is located in the south of the island, and is nowadays the center of tourism thanks to the establishment of the Charles Darwin Research Station back in 1964. The giant tortoise captive breeding program was originally conceived by this internationally funded station, but is now successfully managed by the Galápagos National Park Service. Together with other restoration and eradication programs, the Park Service works in the preservation of this unique laboratory of natural evolution.
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