Helping giant tortoises on Galapagos Islands

Santiago Bejarano, whose firm Think Galapagos is based in Beverley
Santiago Bejarano, whose firm Think Galapagos is based in Beverley

A SMALL specialist travel firm in Beverley is helping conservationists to monitor precious baby giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands.

Santiago Bejarano, who is one of the Galapagos’ most respected guides, organises trips to the region from his headquarters in Trinity Lane in Beverley.

This weekend he will deliver two highly sensitive weighing scales to the Galapagos National Park.

The specialist scales will help conservationists, who were devastated by the death of the world-famous giant tortoise Lonesome George earlier this year, to rear new giant tortoises in the Ecuadorian archipelago.

Giant tortoise populations in the Galapagos remain fragile after the death of Lonesome George, who was the last representative of his subspecies. He died aged 100 and despite concerted efforts, conservationists had never been able to breed from him.

Since George’s death, staff at the environmental institution have redoubled efforts to protect populations of the 10 remaining subspecies of giant tortoise.

The specialist scales will help them to monitor embryo growth of the baby tortoises through their eggshells before returning them to the wild.

“The death of Lonesome George and extinction of his subspecies is a tragic reminder of just how fragile the ecosystem of the Galapagos is,” said Mr Bejarano.

“My life’s work is to share this magic with people and to help in the fight to conserve the flora and fauna for future generations. I hope that our donation to the tortoise rearing centre will help in some small way to preserve the future of these magnificent creatures.”

Mr Bejarano, whose travel company Think Galapagos, leads tailor-made holidays to the unique archipelago, will be talking about his visit to the giant tortoise conservation headquarters at The Robert Fuller Gallery in Thixendale on December 2, at 7.30pm.

Originally from Ecuador, Mr Bejarano is a recognised authority on the natural history of these remarkable islands.

He will also discuss a planned joint trip to Galapagos that will be led by himself and the wildlife artist Robert E fuller in May 2014.

Tickets for the joint talk at the Robert Fuller Gallery, Fotherdale Farm, Thixendale, cost £10. To book, contact The Robert Fuller Gallery on 01759 368355.

For more information about Think Galapagos, visit www.thinkgalapagos.com or ring (01482) 872716.