Photo Friday: Galapagos Tortoises

Inspired by recent reports that a small group of baby tortoises has been spotted on the Galapagos Island of Pinzón after more than a century without a single baby tortoise sighting, this installment of Photo Friday is dedicated to the Galapagos Tortoise.

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Galapagos Tortoise on Santa Cruz Island

Giant Galapagos Tortoises are the largest tortoises in the world. They can grow to over five feet long (1.5 m) and weigh over 500 pounds (225 kg). Plus, they can live to be over 100 years old. In fact, according to National Geographic, the oldest tortoise in captivity lived to over 150 years of age.

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Galapagos Tortoise “Racing”

Galapagos Tortoises walk about a quarter of a mile per hour (less than one-third of a kilometer per hour). In Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, Galapagos Island Tortoises are (slowly) racing each other although they never really get started as the horn makes them nervous and they hide in their shells.

Galapagos Tortoises are endangered and less than 20,000 (possibly no more than 15,000) remain by current estimates. Fortunately, groups such as the Galapagos Conservancy are working hard to increase these numbers by raising baby tortoises until they can survive in the wild and protecting their natural habitat. It’s even possible to spy on these amazing creatures through a Tortoise Cam. Reality TV at it’s best!

For more details about the recent baby tortoise find and a bit of history about the struggles of the Galapagos Tortoise, read this article from The Dodo on January 22, 2015.

“The Hindus give the world an elephant to support it, but they make the elephant stand upon a tortoise.”
― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

Photo Friday – Penguins

With the recent release of John Lewis’s 2014 Christmas commercial and the introduction of Monty the Penguin, penguin mania has come to a near frenzy. So there really was no choice when it came to choosing an animal from the cast of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin to highlight in this edition of Photo Friday. It’s all about penguins!

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The “real” Wally: Emperor Penguin in Antarctica

Emperor Penguins are the largest penguin species reaching up to 4 feet tall (122 cm) and weighing up to nearly 100 pounds (45 kg). These are impressive animals who can withstand extreme Antarctic conditions and dive hundreds of feet in near freezing water to search for food. Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is the most unique Emperor Penguin around as he wants to live on a tropical island…something easy to understand after a visit to Antarctica!

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Adelie Penguin in Antarctica

Adelie Penguins just might steal the show this holiday season after Monty the Penguin’s overnight rise to fame. (He’s already got a Twitter account, @MontythePenguin.) These adorable penguins are much smaller than their neighbors, the Emperor Penguins, weighing in at just 13 pounds (6kg) and standing only 30 inches (75 cm) tall. But don’t underestimate them. They can swim up to 45 mph (72 km/h). And in case you are wondering, Nosy Crow Books is publishing Monty’s Christmas in time for the holidays.

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Chinstrap Penguin – Posing for the camera in Antarctica

Chinstrap Penguins are my personal favorite because of the permanent smile they seem to have on their faces. That line however is actually a “chinstrap” that some say makes them appear to be wearing a helmet. But I just see the smile. It seems that Chinstrap Penguins have had their own fame. In 2005, two Chinstrap Penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo became the subject of a children’s book, And Tango Made Three, after trying to hatch a rock.

There is something about penguins that we just can’t help but love. And I think I finally found the explanation.

“…the answer to every problem involved penguins…”
― Rick Riordan, The Throne of Fire

Happy Photo Friday!

World Animal Day

October 4th is World Animal Day, started almost 100 years ago, it’s a day to bring attention to endangered species around the world. I  stumbled upon this internationally celebrated day as I was trying to decide when to make the first donation of proceeds from sales of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin to the Galapagos Conservancy. And it made perfect sense to schedule a donation for conservancy of unique Galapagos animals on this worldwide “day of action”.

First, a big THANK YOU to all of the purchasers of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin who provided the said proceeds which allowed me to make a donation to such a worthy cause. I’m truly grateful for your interest and wonderful feedback about the book. I am thrilled to make this donation to the Galapagos Conservancy in the form of a Species Adoption, a kit that contains keepsakes such as a photo, plush toy and information about an endangered animal in the area. (By the way, it makes a wonderful gift for the holidays!) Visit the Galapagos Conservancy (galapagos.org) for more information about donation options and the work they do to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands.

In addition, today is the first edition of Photo Friday on Wally’s blog. I’ve collected quite a few photos over years of travel from not only the Galapagos Islands, but unique (and warm) places around the world where Wally plans to visit as the book series of continues. On Photo Fridays, I plan to share some of the most memorable travel images as well as a bit of information about the place and/or animal.

On the first Photo Friday, I’m excited to share a picture of one of the most stunning characters in Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, Sally Lightfoot Crab. Wally spots these beautiful crustaceans tap-dancing on a stage in Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin.

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Sally Lightfoot Crab on Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands

Sally Lightfoot Crabs are a beautiful, brightly colored crabs, that are a common sight in the Galapagos Islands. They are often found scurrying across rocks and beaches and can move in any direction which makes them notorious in accounts from the first visitors to the islands as they were (and still are) very difficult to catch.

I hope you enjoy the new Photo Friday feature and thank you again for making a donation to the Galapagos Conservancy a reality!

As seen on…

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