The Galapagos Islands of Latin America

 
 
The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are best known for being studied by Charles Darwin to provide evidence for evolution by natural selection. Today, they are known for their complex ecosystem. If you get a chance, pay this marvel a visit!

Demographics

A series of volcanic islands make up The Galapagos. They are located in Latin America and the Caribbean, on either side of the Equator within the Pacific Ocean. They are 900 km west of Ecuador. The population is 26,000. There are 21 islands and the main language spoken is Spanish.

Tourism

If you’re planning a trip to these archipelago islands, you’ll fly into either San Cristobal or Baltra. Also, there are many ways to spend your stay at the Galapagos. Guests can stay in yachts’, ships, and small hotels. During your stay, you can take boat tours, cruises, visit the beach, or go camping. Because of the few tourist options, guests are only allowed to visit the 54 land sites and 62 scuba sites in shifts of 2-4 hours.

Also, the Islands have a lot of wildlife that has been heavily studied. For this reasons, it is important to limit the impact tourists have on the delicate ecosystem. Visitors to the islands that brought animals and plants represented the biggest threat. Consequently, these new species had no natural predators and quickly reproduced. This caused the destruction of native species that then became prey.

Environmental Threats

Largely introduced by pirates, animals like goats, cats, dogs, pigs, cows, rats, and poultry attack the native wildlife. Today, there are over 700 introduced plant species and only 500 native remaining. This imbalance has continued to create problems.

In 2007, UNESCO put the Islands on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of the threats of invasive species, tourism, and overfishing. Still, after years of struggle to protect the species on the islands, in 2010, the World Heritage Committee made a change. They removed the Galapagos Islands from the list because they found progress had been made to handle the problems.

If you are lucky enough to visit, you should keep an eye out for the Islands’ important species. These include land and marine iguanas, tortoises, green turtles, penguins, albatrosses, sea lions, sea cucumbers, mockingbirds, and hawks.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1

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