Being Part of the Galapagos Conservation EffortsEmail this post to a friend.
Long considered to be a eco-hotspot of biodiversity, the Galapagos Islands face the various daunting challenges that threaten its unique beauty and splendor. Most of the issues that the Ecuadorian government must confront as part of its stewardship of the archipelago are man-made. With Galapagos Islands travel being a major part of Ecuador’s overall tourism economy, they have much to gain and lose at the same time, with their choice of currency (the US dollar) reflecting their priorities in this matter.
A Global Endeavor
The authorities are not the only ones to take a keen interest in Galapagos conservation efforts. A number of groups, from all over the world, are dedicated to making sure that the world does not destroy the very marvel that it travels so far (and at no small expense) to see. The islands themselves have set up forest habitat reserves, often run by volunteer groups, as people come from far away to assist local communities on the Islands.
Protecting the Natives – From Us
Much of the focus has to do with invasive or non-indigenous species. Ever since the islands were first charted by buccaneers, ships have set sail for the Galapagos, and they’ve brought all manner of creatures with them on board their ships, which had no business being there. Today, feral pigs, dogs, goats, cattle and other animals have a tendency to interrupt Darwin’s grand experiment with their presence alone, competing with the native fauna for resources, if not preying on them outright.
The flora of the Galapagos is under just as much pressure, if not more, as farming and the introduction of non-native plant species has contributed to the problem of maintaining the ecological integrity of the highland forests of the Galapagos Islands. Volunteers who wish to help both the plants and the animals of this relatively young geological gift to the planet may do so for under $1000. Most volunteer hitches last anywhere from six weeks to six months; many include Spanish lessons, learned while staying in Quito before going to the Islands themselves. There may not be a better way to visit Galapagos – and there is certainly no better reason for making the journey.
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