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Tortoise Genes and Island Beings

Giant Galápagos reptiles on slow road to recovery

Not far from where the Galápagos Islands' most famous loner spends his days, tourists disembark by the inflatable boatload at a modern dock. A path takes them past marine iguanas sneezing brine from their salt-caked nostrils and striated herons roosting in the red mangroves to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Within the station, another walkway leads to a natural enclosure sheltering a misanthropic Galápagos tortoise named Lonesome George.

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