CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION
FAUSTO LLERENA TORTOISE CENTER
The Charles Darwin Research Station serves as the main hub for the Charles Darwin Foundation. Their primary goal is to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and the environment in the Galapagos Archipelago through scientific research and various initiatives.
Established in 1962 and officially inaugurated in 1964, the research station was initially focused on replenishing the populations of giant tortoises on the islands that had been greatly reduced. In collaboration with the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center was instrumental in saving the giant tortoise population on Pinzón Island in 1965. Over time, the efforts expanded to include other populations, such as the Española tortoises.
At the research station, you can encounter different species of tortoises from Santa Cruz, Santiago, Española, Pinzón, and Pinta. The station carries out a captive breeding program to help increase their numbers and restore areas that were previously affected by introduced species, whalers, pirates, and the early settlers of the islands. Since 2008, over 4,000 young tortoises from eight distinct populations have been successfully reintroduced to their original islands. Visitors have the opportunity to observe tortoises at various stages of growth, from eggs to adulthood.
Additionally, due to the threat posed by wild dogs to land iguanas on Santa Cruz, Isabela, and North Seymour Islands, a captive breeding program was initiated to safeguard this reptile species as well.