Our new Giants of the Galápagos exhibit is now open!
Giant Galápagos tortoises Dolly, Polly and Priscilla embarked on an epic trek across ZSL London Zoo to move into their new home.
The trio of feisty females are now settling into their swanky new island pad - which has a choice of two lagoon pools to cool off in, a muddy wallow for self-care spa treatments and a tropical forest to explore – before Giants of the Galápagos officially opens to the public next month.
From Saturday 9 October 2021, visitors will be transported to the famous archipelago, surrounded by the sights and sensations of the pristine, isolated island chain.
About the species
Galápagos tortoises are extraordinary. They're the largest tortoises in the world, they can live for over 150 years, and they carry around huge, bony shells that they can hide inside if they feel threatened. Sadly, despite their size they are gentle giants, and over the last few hundred years they haven't been too good at fending off predators.
Tortoises also played a very interesting part in the history of natural science. When Charles Darwin, who was an early 'fellow' of ZSL, visited the Galápagos in 1835, he learnt of variations in the tortoises from different islands. Later on these observations would help him form his revolutionary new theory of 'natural selection'.
Galápagos tortoises came under threat when humans arrived at the islands and hunted them for food, causing 3 of the 14 species to vanish completely. Very little hunting occurs these days, but the tortoises are still threatened by domestic animals brought to the islands by passing ships, tourism, and disease.
ZSL and other organisations are helping keep the tortoises safe, by running field conservation projects in the Galápagos Islands, and finding out about disease threats to Galápagos flora and fauna.