Galapagos Islands cruise guests always love meeting famous "Lonesome George" at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The giant tortoise, the last of his subspecies, is a native of Pinta Island, where the Galapagos National Park officials have just released 39 giant tortoises.

Giant tortoises disappeared from Pinta Island in 1972, and goats introduced to the island accelerated Pinta's degradation before they were eradicated in 2003.

"The relocation of these endangered reptiles, known as Geochelone nigra, is part of a long-term management plan, which will allow the restoration of the ecosystem integrity and the re-establishment of ecological processes characteristic of this island.

"The 39 giant tortoises being introduced to Pinta are between 30 and 70 years old and they are sterile hybrids with the purpose of conserving the ecological and evolutionary processes of the archipelago."

Click here for more information on this project.