Ecuador // The Galápagos Islands //

Isla Española

In the far southeastern corner of the archipelago, ESPAÑOLA is a remote island featuring regularly on tour-boat itineraries, a favourite for its sea-bird colonies and native wildlife. Isolation has given rise to a number of endemic species: Española’s mockingbirds, lava lizards and colourful marine iguanas are found nowhere else in the world, while the waved albatross, the star of the island when in residence between April and December, has only one other home – even then in small numbers – at the Isla de la Plata off the mainland coast. Española’s giant tortoises were nearly wiped out (down to only fourteen specimens in the 1970s) because of feral goats, which have since been eradicated. Under a long-term, CDRS-run repopulation programme, the thousandth Española tortoise reared in captivity was successfully repatriated to the island in March 2000.


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