Continued excerpts from Brian’s Galapagos journal: North Seymore Island
“The rains had not arrived until a month ago, being at least two months late, and many of the iguanas were then in dire condition. But now they were fat and active, feasting on the new green growth. We witnessed flower and leaf consumption, but the winning behaviour was a huge land iguana up on top of a cactus, over a meter high! The chance encounter allowed us to see him dislodge a cactus pad, which he followed with a remarkable exit from the cactus top, hitting the ground with a thud!  He pulled off a cactus bud, ate it with gusto, and then proceeded to paw off the spines so he could consume the entire pad!  In the 1920’s there were no land iguanas on Seymore.  Scientists took some from nearby Baltra Island at that time and released them here.  Later, in the 1940’s the US military moved to Baltra.  The boys with their toys killed all the land iguanas there, but the Seymore iguanas thrived.  After the US left the Galapagos, the iguanas were repatriated to Baltra, and now both islands have thriving land iguanas! Meanwhile, the cactus on Seymore had evolved in an iguana-free environment, and hence the cactus there has no evolutionary spine defence mechanism!  Hence, our fascinating feeding observation this morning!  After lunch, we took a chartered bus to the highlands.  14 giant tortoise were seen on the way, and many more once we began walking. To see these prehistoric relics in their natural habitat is a remarkable experience.”
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