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Discovered Pink Land Iguana in Galapagos Islands - Ecuador

pink iguana galapagos

A species of pink land iguana overlooked by Charles Darwin during his visits to the Galapagos Islands may provide evidence of the ancient animals' diversification in the archipelago, scientists have reported.

When English naturalist Charles Darwin explored the Galapagos Islands in the early 1800s, he, and countless scientists since, overlooked a hefty pink iguana.

The iguana, referred to as "rosada," meaning "pink" in Spanish, has black stripes and is believed to be extremely rare. It was discovered at Volcan Wolf, Isabela Island's northernmost volcano, which Darwin missed during his five-week stay at the archipelago in 1835.

Galapagos National Park rangers first stumbled upon the striking land lizard a few decades ago, but this week's study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to officially document the iguana.



Toyota Motor Corporation will work with Charles Darwin Foudation for Environmental Education in Galapagos

In early November, Toyota Motor Corporation of Tokyo made a commitment to education in Galapagos by signing a cooperation agreement with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) to carry out the Education for Sustainable Development project. The Japanese company will provide backing for a Non-formal Environmental Education program to be put into effect by the CDF Education Team. The main purpose of this initiative is to work with children, adolescents, adults and educators to create a sense of belonging to the Galapagos community and thus encourage a lifestyle that is in harmony with the fragile ecosystem of the archipelago. Different methods, tools and educational workshops are to be implemented to achieve this goal. The project will be started up on the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal. This joint Toyota and CDF effort was made possible by the Environmental Activities Program that the Japanese corporation has been conducting in a number of countries around the world since the year 2000. This year, twenty-five non-governmental organizations from all over the world were selected under the themes of “Global Warming” and “Biodiversity Conservation” to receive support to carry out their environmental projects. Toyota is expected to allocate some 200 million yen (approximately two million dollars) to these efforts in defense of the environment on a planetary level. The CDF enthusiastically welcomed Toyota’s announcement and pledged to work jointly toward sustainable development in Galapagos for the protection and conservation of this ecosystem that is unique throughout the world.


Press focuses on human threats to Galapagos

Decemberr 16st, 2008
In recent weeks, there have been a series of articles in the world press on threats from increasing population pressure in Galapagos. The articles appear to have been prompted by the recent expulsion of illegal immigrants from the islands by the Ecuadorian government.In September, the government began a crackdown on illegal residents living in Galapagos. About 1,000 people were rounded up and put on planes back to the mainland. Some 2,000 others were put on notice that they had to leave within a year. Following this, an article in the Los Angeles Times reported:

“[President] Correa’s government was the first to strictly enforce laws that require formal ‘visas’ for Ecuadorians to visit the Galapagos. The papers of all arriving at the islands’ two airports are checked. Checkpoints and patrols have become routine on Santa Cruz Island, home to the port town of Puerto Ayora.”

But the story on illegal residents prompted some headline writers to instead focus on a threat from tourism. Although no new limits on tourism have been established, nor has the government of Ecuador been hinting at any quotas, some headlines still read: “Tourism curbed in bid to save Galapagos haven,” “Ecuador attempts to reign in Galapagos tourist boom” and “Galapagos expels citizens as a flood of tourists threatens islands.” These articles did not elaborate on their headlines but simply repeated the reports of a crackdown on illegal residents.

Illegal immigration to the islands has meant a large increase in population over the past decade. This has been due to higher wages and living conditions in the islands and to increasing tourism development. These population pressures, combined with the threat from introduced plants and animals, prompted UNESCO to put Galapagos on the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger last year.

Changes to Boat Itineraries

Boat itineraries in Galapagos are undergoing changes. The Galapagos National Park held a meeting at the end of January with representatives of the travel industry. During the meeting the Park emphasized the need to reduce the impact of visitors at certain sites. These include Hood, Tower, Bartolome, North Seymour, South Plazas and Punta Espinosa.

In attendance were members of ASOGAL, CAPTURGAL (the Galapagos Chamber of Tourism), and ADATUR (Galapagos Boat Operators), All agreed that sacrifices would have to be made in order to keep the islands healthy for the future.

Small boat itineraries have been the first to be affected. Larger boats (with 48 or more passengers) will also be affected, although changes to their itineraries have been delayed for several months.

The National Park plans to strictly regulate requests for special itineraries. It said that changes to a yacht's approved itinerary would not be made unless there were very compelling reasons. By 2007, special itinerary requests will need to be submitted no less than eight months in advance for consideration.

Other measures are being looked into to remove pressure from the most visited sites, especially those in the central part of the archipelago.

Penalty for Celebrity Cruises

The Galapagos National Park has handed down a penalty to Celebrity Cruises for illegal shark fishing on board its boat, Xpedition. It has suspended operation of the boat for two months and levied a fine equivalent to the salaries of 500 crew members (rumoured to be in excess of $80,000). There was no indication as to when the suspension would begin.

A spokesperson for Celebrity, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, said that they were appealing the decision. She said that the Park had renewed Celebrity's operating permit for this year.

The penalty resulted from the illegal fishing of sharks by crew members on board the boat. In September, the Association of Galapagos Guides filed a complaint with the Galapagos National Park. They released photographs showing three Xpedition crewmembers holding sharks that they had allegedly caught while on board the ship.


Tourism Boat Caught With Sea Cucumbers

On 19 January, the tourist boat, Galapagos Adventure II, was caught by the Ecuadorian Merchant Marine four miles off Santa Cruz with 18 sacks of sea cucumbers. The boat was impounded and an investigation was launched by the National Park. No ruling has yet been made. The Galapagos Adventure II belongs to the Galaven company.

Artisinal Fishing Tourism Approved

Artisinal fishing as a tourist activity has been approved by the Inter-institutional Management Authority (AIM). This new form of tourism allows visitors to learn about the art and culture of small-scale fishing by local residents. The fishing sector had proposed this as a way for local fishermen to participate in tourism. No details are available about what will be offered, or by whom.

Source: International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA)







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Formed by volcanic eruptions over millions of years, they are located a very remote 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. These islands remain shockingly unspoilt and are where Charles Darwin invented the theory of evolution after studying the islands' many different species of Finches. Thus, the islands remain of high scientific importance. e fact they are located so far from the coast and weren't inhabited by humans until 150 years ago, has helped the hundreds of species of animals develop over 1000's of years without the slightest fear of human beings.This fearless wildlife is unmistakably one of the biggest reasons to visit as truly no where else on the planet will one encounter animals in their original, natural, wild habitat that are absolutely not bothered in the least by the presence of humans. In fact, in the case of land iguana, you have to be careful not to step on them because many just refuse to move!The species found on Galapagos are often endemic, meaning they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Some of these include land tortoises, the Galapagos Penguin (the 2nd smallest in the world), land and marine iguanas, Darwin Finches, the famous Blue-footed Booby and it's cousin the Red-footed Booby.harks (Galapagos shark, white tipped shark and the extremely rare and fascinating Hammerhead, among others). For birds, a small sample include Frigates and its similar cousin the Cormorant, Flamingos, Pelicans, the enormous Albatross. The water is of course crystal clear and the snorkeling and diving there is among the best in the world (ask any expert!).