GALAPAGOS FACES SPECIES THREAT

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GALAPAGOS FACES SPECIES THREAT

 user 2006-08-25 at 9:40:00 am Views: 57
  • #16171

    Galapagos ‘face species threat’
    Officials in Ecuador say they are worried about the discovery of foreign species on the Galapagos Islands.
    Despite
    inspections of incoming ships and planes, local people recently found
    an iguana and a turtle which probably came from mainland South
    America.Invasive foreign species are one of the main threats to the
    islands’ wildlife.This includes giant tortoises, marine iguanas and
    finches which enchanted naturalist Charles Darwin and helped him
    develop his theory of evolution.It is the isolation of the Galapagos
    Islands which makes their ecology unique.Stranded 1,000km (620 miles)
    off the Ecuadorean coast, animals adapted to the conditions in their
    particular part of the archipelago without external influences.

    Development challenge
    Now,
    though, the isolation of the Galapagos is threatened by foreign
    species.The archipelago is home to fishermen, a booming tourist
    industry and a growing number of migrants from the mainland.Development
    has gone hand-in-hand with the arrival of foreign tortoises, turtles
    and even a monkey.Officials are particularly worried about the newly
    discovered iguana which is probably a type which breeds rapidly and
    could compete with the indigenous varieties.It almost certainly arrived
    in cargo and was missed by inspectors.Other foreign animals in the
    Galapagos were introduced deliberately, only for their disastrous
    impact to be appreciated too late.Naturalists are working to eradicate
    thousands of feral goats which are a direct threat to the habitat of
    the Galapagos’ giant tortoises.