The Tortoise Project

There are about 40 species of tortoises alive today, native to every continent except Antarctica, and many islands. Tortoises are land-living creatures. And they’ve adapted to a wide range of climates and habitats, from montane forests to equatorial islands to some of the driest and harshest deserts in the world.

Turtles and tortoises have lived on Earth long before humans made their appearance. They’re built for the long haul, and survived the asteroid that ushered in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction 66 million years ago and wiped out three-quarters of the planet’s plant and animal species, like the dinosaurs. But they are no match for modern humans. Because of us many tortoise species have already disappeared. The surviving species are facing habitat loss, climate stress, and wildlife trafficking, among other threats.

A Galápagos tortoise eating at Darwin Center, Santa Cruz Island. Photo by Kevin Gepford.
Darwin Center, Santa Cruz Island. / Credit: Kevin Gepford

Yet, some of us are also trying to help them. Among us humans are also saviors and champions who have devoted themselves to protecting tortoises and habitats — individuals who have exerted extreme efforts in the cause.

This site is dedicated to the lives of tortoises around the world, and to the biologists, scientists, and conservationists who have devoted their lives to protecting them.

I’m currently researching and writing a book that will take readers to the front lines where tortoises are fighting for their lives, from the Galápagos Islands to Aldabra Atoll, from the jungle highlands of Southeast Asia to the Mojave Desert of the American Southwest, to Africa and Madagascar, and many places in between.

~ Kevin Gepford