Pinta Island: One of the Least Explored in the Galapagos

One of the northernmost landmasses of the Galapagos archipelago, Pinta Island is also one of the least explored. This means that it’s one of the area’s best preserved islands, as can especially be seen in several species of wild plants there. On this 60-square-kilometer island, 59 species of plants endemic to the Galapagos can be found here – two of which are native to this particular island.

In addition to tortoises and endemic plants, one can also observe cranes, Swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas and fur seals on Pinta Island

In addition to tortoises and endemic plants, one can also observe cranes, Swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas and fur seals on Pinta Island

Pinta Island and “Lonesome George” Pinta, the ninth largest in the archipelago island, is famous for being the home of the giant tortoise dubbed “Lonesome George.” He was found on Pinta Island in 1971, when it was believed that his species of freshwater tortoise (Geochelone abingdoni) was already extinct. George was taken to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, where — for 40 years — he was mated with females from other islands in an attempt to maintain his species. Unfortunately this was never achieved, and George died in June 2012 without offspring. Although Pinta Island has never been visited often by tourists, goats were introduced onto the island in the 1950s. These animals soon became a plague as they decimated the population of turtles, who were left without food. Adding to this pressure was the indiscriminate hunting that Galapagos tortoises suffered on the part of whalers and pirates in earlier centuries. However, in 2010, 39 tortoises were taken to Pinta Island (most of them from Espanola Island) to re-populate the island and contribute to the conservation of ecosystems.

  From Pinta Island, “Lonesome George” was the last of his particular species of Galapagos Tortoise (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ikiam1/7436708094)

Originally from Pinta Island, “Lonesome George” was the last of his particular species of Galapagos Tortoise (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ikiam1/7436708094)

In addition to these newly introduced tortoises and endemic plants, one can also observe cranes, Swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas and fur seals on Pinta Island. Although cruise ships don’t land on Pinta Island, there are four nearby diving sites listed by the Galapagos National Park: Cape Chalmers, Cape Ibbetson, Puerto Posada and Nerus Point. ————— If you found this article informative and would like to learn about the Galapagos Islands and other amazing destinations in Ecuador and South America, please visit our web pages on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, or our own Surtrek website.

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