Azara Blog: Galapagos Islands allegedly under threat

Blog home page | Blog archive

Google   Bookmark and Share
 

Date published: 2007/04/11

The BBC says:

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has declared the Galapagos Islands, home to dozens of endangered species, at risk and a national priority for action.

The islands, Ecuador's top tourist draw, were suffering an environmental and social crisis, he said.

Mr Correa's call came as a UN delegation was visiting to see if the islands should be declared "in danger".

The Galapagos Islands were made a World Heritage Site 30 years ago for their unique plant and animal life.

"We are pushing for a series of actions to overcome the huge institutional, environmental and social crises in the islands," Mr Correa said, adding that these problems were the result of years of neglect by previous governments.

He did not detail the measures, but indicated Ecuador would consider suspending some tourism permits, Reuters news agency reported.

The islands, located some 1,000km (620 miles) off Ecuador's mainland, are home to an array of species, including giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas.

About 20,000 people, working mainly in fishing and tourism, also live there.
...
Last month, several rangers of the ecological reserve in the islands clashed with members of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces over what the rangers say was illegal fishing in protected waters.

The incident provoked an outcry in Ecuador as it illustrated for many the practices which are damaging the site.

Mr Correa announced that a number of military officials had been suspended pending an investigation.

However, ecologists say the problems in the Galapagos run much deeper than the government has acknowledged.

They fear that a rapid increase in the human population and the gradual introduction of external species of flora and fauna are threatening the entire ecosystem on the islands.

Representatives of the UN's scientific, educational and cultural body, Unesco, have travelled to its research station on the Galapagos to inspect the state of conservation there.

If there are too many people visiting the island then that needs to be cut, and not just tourists but also scientists and VIPs like the UNESCO visitors. There should be a quota and it should be first come (or first reserved) first served. But it seems that tourists are not the only problem. If agents of the government are causing substantive damage then there is little hope for the islands.

_________________________________________________________
All material not included from other sources is copyright cambridge2000.com. For further information or questions email: info [at] cambridge2000 [dot] com (replace "[at]" with "@" and "[dot]" with ".").