Community Impact

Preserving Tortoise Habitat in Galapagos

from GLA's Galapagos: Preserving Nature's Wonders™ Program

"This past summer was truly amazing. All the hard work of our students went directly to preserving that natural habitat. Our digging, weeding, and cleaning at Campo Duro proved more than fruitful as the first ever giant tortoise nest was laid by one of the resident tortoises! The staff at Campo Duro were more than grateful for GLA’s hard work."

-Liz, GLA International Director

A GLA student volunteer encounters a Galapagos tortoise in the grass

According to National Geographic, Galapagos tortoises are the longest-lived of all verterbrate land animals. Yet despite this incredible longevity, these tortoises are threatened by human impact - both global and local. GLA student volunteers on the Galapagos - Preserving Nature's Wonders program are charged with restoring tortoise habitat and providing much needed aid to this endangered species.

Campo Duro, on the island of Isabela, is home to a tortoise rehabilitation center and hatchery. Over the summer, GLA's teen volunteers jumped at the chance to get their hands dirty. From removing stray branches that crowd the tortoise habitat to ridding the area of foreign pests that were introduced from outside the island, students learn the importance of consistent intervention on behalf of these animals in order to ward off threats to their survival.

Two teenagers on the Preserving Nature's Wonders™ program clear out a branch

One of the first lessons teens on this program learned was how, even though human presence caused a lot of the damage to this once-pristine habitat in the Galapagos, it takes human intervention to turn the tide. Everything from rats to encroaching foreign plants can reduce the survival rate of tortoises and their young. GLA's local staff, many who have years of experience in habitat restoration, explain the delicate balance between what we can do to help, and when it is best to stay at a distance.

GLA travelers watch tortoises roaming about the hatchery

"You should all know that you left the Galapagos Islands a better place than when you came and I think it could also be said that many of us experienced a life-changing experience from our trip. Thank you for helping me make awesome memories in a wonderful place."

-Liz, GLA International Director

I want to make an impact in the Galapagos.