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The Galapagos Archipelago – A Lesson in Conservation and Environmental Responsibility

I recently had the wonderful opportunity of visiting the Galapagos Archipelago. Along with 14 other passengers, a crew of 9, and a naturalist, we traveled around the islands on a catamaran. I was so impressed with the zero carbon footprint and environmentally responsible laws and procedures in the Galapagos that I wanted to write about it. Galapagos Islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected.

There are 13 major islands and six smaller islands in the archipelago. Only a few of the islands have human settlements on them, and only two of the islands have small cities with banks, markets, and small airports. Only 3 percent of the land on the Galapagos, about 100 square miles, can be lived on or used by humans; the other 97% is a national park.

The population is limited because you have to be born there or marry into a resident family in order to live in the Galapagos. They have strict rules about farming (no pesticides), pet ownership (your pets cannot harass the native animals), plastic use (no single-use plastic can be sold), and vehicles.

There are also a lot of rules for visitors to the Galapagos

  • Always follow the marked trail and never leave it (This is important to protect the many nests of tortoises, turtles, and iguanas).
  • Do not touch the animals.
  • Do not take souvenirs from the islands.
  • Do not get too close to animals.
  • Do not litter.
  • Leave no trace. Pack out anything you take in.
  • Do not smoke on the islands.
  • Do not bring snacks onto the islands.
  • Some of the islands require you to be with a guide who has passed the Galapagos Guide Course.
  • There are limits to how many visitors can be on a site or in a snorkeling area at one time.

Additionally, we wore reef-safe sunscreen so that we would not harm marine life. We also carried reusable water bottles. We returned to the boat for restroom use. There are no restrooms on most of the islands.

Sea Turtle Informational Text Unit

 

The Galapagos Islands are pristine. I saw no trash or pollution there. The animals are unafraid and curious about us. It was actually difficult sometimes to stay 2 meters away from wildlife because they were everywhere! The sea lions and marine iguanas were especially abundant.

A huge threat to the Galapagos is invasive species. When we arrived at the small Galapagos airport, our luggage was sniffed by an agriculture dog.

The Galápagos Islands are well worth visiting. It’s one of the most unique landscapes on earth, and there’s nowhere else in the world you can find incredible endemic species such as the Giant Tortoise, Darwin Finch, and Galápagos Fur Seal.

Formation of the Galápagos Islands

Environmental Resources

Environmental Research Project

Human Impact on the Environment
Human Impact Bundle
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