Charles Darwin Research Center address

What is the Charles Darwin Research Station?

Darwin Reserach Center in the Galapagos IslandsThe Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station and active breeding center operated by the . It is located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands and is included on both of our itineraries A & B.

“Our mission is to provide science that will help to conserve the environment and biodiversity of the archipelago and that enables decision-makers to work towards a truly sustainable Galapagos. We are doing this within the context of dynamic changes in the commercial, political, and social landscapes of the Galapagos Islands. It is perhaps fitting that in this bastion of evolution, the Charles Darwin Foundation continually evolves as a matter of adaptation.”

- Dr. Dennis Geist, President of the CDF

Baby Tortoises at the charles darwin research station in the galapagos islandsWhat do you get to see at the Research Station?

Galapagos Islands is home to the famous Galapagos Tortoise, which fully grown can weigh up to 500 pounds and reach 6 feet in length. During your visit to the Research Station you will get to see tortoises at all stages of growth from unhatched eggs to full-grown adults.

Baby tortoises hatch after four to eight months in the egg. They are extremely small and vulnerable when they first hatch, weighing as little as 50 grams (1.8 oz) and measuring 6 centimeters (2.4 in). Most of our guests love seeing the huge tortoises start out so small and learn about the incubation, hatching and growth stages of the tortoises.

These slow-moving animals were easy prey for pirates and colonists who used them for food and money which led to a threatening decline in numbers in the late 1970′s. This is why today great care is taken to ensure the Galapagos Tortoises bring their numbers back up. The hatcheries help make sure the tortoises get to a big enough size to where they have a better chance of surviving once released back to the island.

Tortoises at the charles darwin research station in the galapagos islands

The tortoise size and shell shape varies depending on where they live. The shell is made of bone and is a dull brown color. Their ribs, backbone and breastbone have become part of the shell which is why you can never separate the tortoise from its shell. The only natural predator of the Galapagos tortoise is the Galapagos hawk. The hawk preys on the eggs and the newly hatched tortoises.

If a fight breaks out between males, the tortoises face each other, open their mouth and stretch their head as high as they can. Whoever reaches the highest wins. Occasionally they will bite at each other, but usually the shorter male will turn and run away or pull his head into his shell with a hissing sound, ending the battle. These fights usually occur over mates or food and are serious events for the tortoises.

Lonesome George is the most famous tortoise of them all! He became the face of the Galapagos Islands and an icon for conservation. After the drastic decline in subspecies, Lonesome George was the only known living individual from his specific subspecies until his recent death in 2012. The loss of any subspecies is seen as a tragedy by biologist and the general public and Lonesome George will definitely be missed!

Tortoise hiding in the bush at the Charles Darwin Research Station Galapagos Tortoise at the Charles Darwin Research Station Galapagos Tortoise at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands Two Galapagos Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands

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So then, one might wonder, what do all of these Intelligent Design people really want? "The Wedge Strategy," which was leaked by the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, the main group supporting Intelligent Design, and a subsidiary of the conservative Christian think-tank, the Discovery Institute. The document starts:
"The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences

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