Tiny Baby Wonder Giant Tortoise
Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Island in Seychelles and the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador
It can be hard growing up without parents, but it doesn’t seem to bother this 5-year-old baby giant tortoise. She’s been on her own as soon as she cracked through her egg, and joined her siblings in the open air. With natural instincts to show her the way, there are but a few things that haven't already been hardwired into her. When people brought their own animals to her island long ago, she had to learn how to avoid these new creatures. Cats and dogs she has almost got the hang of, but the cows mostly are the biggest pain. They eat her food and she needs that if she is to make it into a grand old age!
These giants are a window into a pre-historic time. They roam around with their great shells protecting them, made up of honey-comb shaped air chambers, and attaching to their ribs. The biggest living tortoises by far, this species of reptiles give us a glimpse to the simply enormous ones that would have roamed our world thousands of years ago. They now survive solely in two remote groups, where their lifespans easily expand over a century.
Tortoises have a very hands-off approach to parenting. The female will lay her eggs (2-25 depending on the species) in a nest she has dug into the sand. She will cover it back up and head off, leaving the hatchlings to dig themselves out when they are ready. Interestingly, the temperature of the sand can affect the gender of the hatchlings: warmer temperatures give more females and colder temperatures give more males.
Once, there were many different species of giant tortoises, but the majority fell extinct after human migration, and the remaining ones suffered enormously. These animals can go many days without needing to eat or drink, making them a convenient meal for the early humans, who could carry the tortoises across great distances, and then eat them fresh. They were also used for their oil to light lamps. Now, thanks to dedicated breeding programmes, the numbers of many of the remaining species of tortoises are slowly increasing, however introduced species still pose significant threat to their survival as they become prey, and are forced to compete for feed
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
Through public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. With this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love, and with love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
ABOUT GILLIE AND MARC
Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted public artworks can be found worldwide including in New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, and Sydney. They are Archibald Prize finalists, won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, took out the Allens People’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2018 and Kids’ Choice Award in the 2016 Sculpture by the Sea and received the Bayside Arts Festival People's Choice Award in 2019 in Sydney.
The husband-and-wife duo are on a mission to make art for a better tomorrow. They are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together as best friends and soul mates.
Gillie and Marc are also passionate eco-warriors and have dedicated their lives to protecting nature.
Gillie grew up with the wildlife in Zambia and Marc studied chimpanzees in Tanzania as a young man. Over time, the artists developed a deep appreciation for all living things and a desire to preserve the magnificence of the natural world.
Through their art, Gillie and Marc aim to transform passive audiences into passionate advocates for animal conservation. Their mission is to use their work as a platform to continue spreading awareness about endangerment, which will ultimately lead to change and save species from extinction.
Their art has raised hundreds of thousands in donations for the many wildlife charities and causes they support through their project Love The Last.
Please follow @gillieandmarcart