He Got His Tortoises
Dr. Charles Townsend of the New York Aquarium, a colleague and friend of Dr. Harry’s, came for a visit to San Diego and was chatting with Dr. Harry about what animals he’d like to add to the San Diego Zoo. Dr. Harry, who was a big turtle and tortoise enthusiast, said, “Why is it nobody ever gives me any turtles? I’m always wanting some turtles.” Townsend said he’d take a walk around Reptile Mesa and see what he might be able to provide. Soon he was back in Dr. Harry’s office exclaiming, “I have just visited your turtle basins. All 48 of them, you damn rascal! This is the biggest collection of turtles in the world!” Nonetheless, he went on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands in 1928, and brought Dr. Harry a group of 30 young tortoises from Isla Isabela—the foundation of the Galápagos tortoise herd that has continued at the Zoo ever since.