Galapagos Islands College Class Name Date Galapagos Islands 2 The Galapagos Islands are located near Ecuador that was born from volcanoes erupting violently out of the sea. Plant and animal species traversed 1000km of ocean to colonize the islands, leaving species isolated and evolving independently on different islands. Observing this had a resounding impact on the formations of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection and the theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos Islands are a chain of islands that straddle the equator.
The islands were first discovered in 1535 and were put on the maps in 1570. The group of islands is made up of 13 main islands and six smaller islands (Galapagos Islands, 2006). In 1978 UNESCO recognized the islands as a World Heritage Site, and in 1985 a Biosphere Reserve. In 2007 the islands were put on the UNESCO World in Danger List. (Wikipedia, 2008). These islands are in threat by the non native plants and animals growing population of humans. The Galapagos Islands are well known for their various native breeds of animals. These different breeds of animals cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
One of the animals that are not found anywhere else is the Marine Iguanas. These are the only sea-going lizards in the world and they will often wear distinctive white wigs of salt which are expelled from glands near their noses. One of the theories as to why these creatures are of unique existence to the Galapagos Islands is that they were originally land lizards that came to the islands on driftwood and then evolved to continue living in the sea. Another theory is that the Marine Iguanas are the last remaining descendants of a species of sea lizards that are now extinct in the rest of the world.
Many scuba divers that visit the Galapagos Islands observe the vast array of marine life that is found there. This island also is the home of many diverse endemic plants. The island has its own species of cotton, guava, pepper and passion flower (Galapagos Conservation Trust, 2007). Humans have intruded the Galapagos Islands and have become a huge threat for the future of the islands. With the increase of humans residing on this island come devastating results. Marine supplies are being acquired faster than they can be replaced and habitations are being corrupted at astonishing rates.
The large number of boats in the water brings higher amounts of pollution to the area. There are also going to be the smaller challenges like littering that affects the balance of the water. With the growing population come animals from the outside world that are not native to the islands such as cats, dogs, goats and rats. The affects of these non native animals comes devastation to the life on the islands. These animals eat the vegetation which makes the food limited for the native animals. This could cause for the animals that are native to the islands to become endangered.
There has also been the affects of Mother Nature that has endangered the equilibrium of animal and plant life. There is a rare occurrence every two to seven years call El Nino. This allows warm ocean waters to pool in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean that enclose the Galapagos Islands. The warmer water acts like a lid that averts nutrient rich water from rising. Without it, the marine food chain is blocked off at the bottom, affecting the entire ecosystem (Wikipedia, 2010). There has been a never ending fight between the government and the population on how much they are permitted to fish the waters around the islands.
There has been an apprehension that they could fished too much and endangering the large marine life. The current confrontation is that accessible materials and preservation measures actively in place are not ample enough to take care of the Galapagos Islands from the certain dangers of the future. Preservation programs must be in place with a lasting ability for the future, an acceptable purpose for the land and sea, and high guidelines strongly suggesting full protection of the islands of Galapagos. In 1959, the centenary year of Charles Darwin’s publication of The Origin of Species, the Ecuadorian government declared 97. % of the archipelago’s land is a national park, excepting areas already colonized (Galapagos Islands, 2010). The Charles Darwin Foundation’s primary ambition was to guarantee the conservation of unique Galapagos ecosystems and help the scientific studies essential to accomplish its conservation capacity. Conservation work began with the organization of the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in 1964. (Galapagos Islands, 2010). To move forward with the conservation programs that will help protect endangered species in the archipelago, Galapagos Conservancy needs ongoing support of the Endangered Species Action Campaign. 2010). In order to continue with this there needs to be an investment in high tech research programs that will help scientists gather important information on the marine life, their population status, feeding habits and migration patterns. There needs to be programs of restoration for the giant reptiles to their historic range. Tightening the quarantine system to keep invasive species out of Galapagos and to reduce the threat they pose to the survival of endangered species like the Opuntia cacti and the Floreana mockingbird. (2010)
The people can do various things in order to preserve the variety and diversity of the Galapagos Islands. Both the residence and tourists need to respect and take care of the natural habitat. People can spread the word and dig in their pocket books to help support the organizations that are there to help preserve the area. Last and most important is educating everyone on the importance of the preservation and conservation on the Galapagos Islands, and how they need to be protected for the sake of biological diversity and for the future generations.
Other ways to make sure that the Galapagos Islands are preserved are to have more and better travel guidelines and more tourist guides to help make sure that tourists are abiding by all rules and laws. A way to ensure that all tourists are following the laws and rules is to make stronger penalties and higher fines. This in return can be donated to the programs for protection. There should be gated or roped areas of the natural habitat to ensure that no damage will happen and will continue to grow and flourish along with the natural wildlife in the area.
There should be more limitations as to what and where non –native animals are allowed. These animals eat the native grasses destroying the biological diversity of the native animal food supply. There are too many people that are lazy and do not pick up or keep track of their animals and do not care what they do to the surroundings. If interruption goes without being watched on these wonderful and beautiful islands, the natural habitat and biodiversity will be destroyed and never be able to be brought back.
The wildlife will become extinct and the pollution will demolish the habitat, including the plants and animals. If this is what happens tourists will no longer want to visit the islands this will cause a domino effect on the economy of the islands. The lack of income from tourists will create fewer jobs and more people moving away from the islands. The less money coming in also means less money for the programs to protects these islands. The future of the islands preservation will impact many species survival and growth. It is extremely important that the Galapagos Islands be protected.
The result of not protecting the Islands could be absolutely devastating to everyone as well as the ecosystem and balance of nature and natural habitat. By preserving the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands the plants and animals will continue to thrive and the Islands will be a beautiful, amazing and unique place to visit. Educating people is the first and most important step in protecting these islands. The next is taking the step to get involved and get others involved as well. References Galapagos Conservation Trust. (2010). Explore the Galapagos Islands. Retrieved May 21, 010 from http://www. galapagos. org/2008/index. php? id=119 Galapagos Islands. (1998-2010) Environmental Issues of the Galapagos. Retrieved May 21, 2010 from http://www. galapagosislands. com/html/environment. html Galapagos Islands (1998-2010). Galapagos Animals and Wildlife. Retrieved May 21, 2010 from http://www. glapagosislands. com/html/wildife_gallary. html Galapagos Islands (2010, May). Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 21, 2010 From http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_Islands. http://trifter. com/caribbean-latin-america/rare-species-that-are-only-found-on-galapagos-islands/