From invasive species and increased tourism levels, to climate change and illegal fishing, now, more than ever, the wildlife that inhabits the Galapagos Islands are under threat.
You can make a difference. With your help, we can continue our work to protect the unique flora and fauna of Galapagos. By adopting one of these iconic species, you will contribute directly to their conservation.
Arriving from mainland South America 2-3 million years ago, the most famous resident of the Galapagos Islands is the Galapagos giant tortoise. In fact, the islands were named after the giant tortoises’ saddle-shaped shells – galapágo is an old Spanish word for saddle. Today there are 11 species of giant tortoises left in the Galapagos Islands. Their population is currently estimated at between 30,000 and 35,000 individuals.
The Galapagos penguin is the second smallest penguin species in the world and is endemic to the Galapagos Archipelago, which means that it is found nowhere else in the world. It is also the only penguin species found in the Northern Hemisphere, with some colonies living on the northern tip of Isabela Island.
The green sea turtle is the only turtle species to nest in the Galapagos. The species is a frequent sighting on snorkeling and diving trips around the archipelago. It mainly stays near the coastline and around islands and is rarely observed in the open ocean. The green sea turtle is the only species to come on shore regularly to bask (sunbathe).
Galapagos prickly pear cactus is considered a keystone species because it serves as the primary food source for giant tortoises and land iguanas, contributing to the islands’ ecological balance. It also provides food, shade, and nesting structures for other wildlife. We restore their populations across the archipelago and seek to enhance the conservation process of the Galapagos ecosystems by using ecological restoration tools.
First discovered in Galapagos during Charles Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle, the Little Vermilion Flycatcher is endemic to the Galapagos, which means that it is found nowhere else in the world. Males are brightly colored and are one of the favorite sightings for many visitors to the Galapagos Islands, if lucky.
The scalloped hammerhead shark is one of the most iconic marine species of the Galapagos and the Galapagos Marine Reserve remains one of the best places in the world to see them. Scalloped hammerhead sharks live in warm temperate and tropical coastal waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Most adults lead solitary lives but sometimes may be seen in pairs. However, in some parts of the world, including Darwin Island in the northern Galapagos, several hundred scalloped hammerheads come together to form large schools to migrate toward the poles over the summer.
Other ways to support us
Become a monthly donor
Monthly donations enable us to continue our mission to safeguard Galapagos by bringing needed continuity for long-term impact. By scheduling a monthly gift, you will become a member of our Wild Club, which brings together our most dedicated supporters.
You can help inspire others to protect and preserve the wildlife and ecosystems of Galapagos. From donating for your birthday, running a marathon, or organizing a garage sale. There’s no limit to how you can get involved!