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 user 2007-06-27 at 1:58:00 pm Views: 59
  • #18184

    Galapagos put on UN danger list
    Galapagos Islands, the first place on the planet officially designated
    as a World Heritage site, has been declared “in danger” by the
    UN.Experts said the 19 islands and surrounding ocean were under threat
    from “invasive species”, increased tourism and growing immigration.

    Isolated some 1,000km (620 miles) off of Ecuador’s coast, the islands contain much unique plant and animal life.They
    were protected by Unesco 1978, with the boundaries extended in 2001.The
    UN Environment, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), which
    administers the list of World Heritage sites, added the Galapagos
    Islands to a comparatively small list of sites facing clear dangers.

    Ecological fear
    a statement, the organisation said increased international interest in
    the islands – which are Ecuador’s most popular tourist attraction – was
    effectively contributing to their gradual decline.”The number of days
    spent by passengers of cruise ships has increased by 150% over the past
    15 years,” the organisation said in a statement.”This increase has
    fuelled a growth in immigration and the ensuing inter-island traffic
    has led to the introduction of more invasive species.”Earlier this year
    Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said the Galapagos were at risk and
    in need of urgent action to protect their unique ecology.He said he was
    considering a range of measures designed to protect the islands’
    environment.The wide variety of unusual flora and fauna on the islands,
    much of it found nowhere else on the planet, inspired naturalist
    Charles Darwin and helped contribute to his theory of evolution.Unesco
    also placed Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal on the endangered
    list because of the threat of poaching and a proposed dam on the Gambia
    river.The committee is considering 45 applications to join the World
    Heritage list from 39 countries. It currently contains 830 sites.