Islands Born of Fire
Galapagos is perhaps the only great
natural paradise remaining in the world
in a near pristine condition.
– High human influx from mainland Ecuador.
– The absence of a quarantine system to avoid the
introduction and dispersal of foreign species.
– Funds are lacking to protect the islands
– Illegal fisheries besieging coastal waters.
– Lack of legal framework to ensure the long term
preservation of the archipelago
Who oversees the Islands?
• The islands are owned by the country of
• The Ecuadorian National Park Service provides
services to the tourists who visit the islands
• Since Ecuador is a small and not a wealthy
country, the tourism helps with the upkeep and
protection of the islands.
• Tourism has taken its toll on the islands and the
Profile of Ecuador
• Area: 283,560 sq Km; about the size of
• Capital City: Quito with a population of 1.5
million. Quayaquil is a coastal city with a
population of 2.0 million
The Galapagos Islands
• Located about 1000 KM off the west coast of
• Cluster of 15 larger islands with several dozen
• The islands do not form any part of land mass
and have never done so.
• Islands made famous by Charles Darwin’s book,
Origin of the Species Through Natural Selection
• The islands are clustered atop a massive
Submarine Galapagos Plateau.
• The islands are basaltic oceanic volcanoes
similar to those in Hawaii.
• The volcanoes gradually die and erode.
• The oldest islands are those that are very flat
and close to sea level.
• The younger islands like Isabela and Fernandina
still have active volcanoes
• The islands have not been inhabited by many
people over the years due to
climate..hot..cold..wet…dry conditions and
located a long ways from near ports.
• No deep topsoil conducive to growing food
Few Islands have human habitation
• Santa Cruz and San Cristobal combined have
populations of about 16,000-20,000 people.
• Most of these are fishermen, shop keepers
supporting tourism and National Park
personnel , professors at the University on San
Cristobal, Researchers and Students.
• Santa Cruz Island also houses the Charles
Darwin Research Facility which deals with
collecting tortoise eggs hatching and caring for
them until they can be repatriated to their
• The islands have been visited by pirates and
other sailors in passing. They stop and collect
Tortoise for food and leave goats, dogs, cats,
rats and other animals on the islands.
• These alien specie have caused much
environmental damage to the islands and its
Two very Stately Blue Footed Bobbies
Back on Deck we begin to cool down, relax and enjoy
a beautiful sunset after our first day on the Islands.
A view of the Pacific from Espanola Island. This
Island has many beautiful vistas.
One has to watch his/her step as the area is covered with
nests, lava lizards, iguanas, mocking birds, tropic birds.
An Iguana is digging a nest to lay eggs.
Protection of these Islands is
• Despite tourism, pollution, wild goats, dogs,
rats, and pirates the islands have survived
about 5 million years.
• It will take lots of education, proactive political
action, and funding to protect these islands.