Selling evolution: Tourism threatens the Galapagos Islands

Posted by Ian on Mar 23, 2009 in blog | No Comments

With the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his visit to the Galapagos Islands, there are many people today wishing to follow in his footsteps. But where should the line be drawn with economic exploitation of one of the world’s most unique and fragile ecosystems?

In the early 1980s, annual tourist numbers were around 41,000. Today, approximately 160,000 people visit the islands annually. This increase in traffic also supported a boom in the islands population, regularly increasing by 12% annually. These factors are having immense affect on the natural resources of the islands and threaten some of the already endangered species living on the island. Although monitored and nominally controlled by the Ecuadoran government, these demographic patterns may herald the destruction of the very place where modern humanity first became aware of the richness and complexity of the Earth’s ecological systems.
News articles covering this story:
The Telegraph
The Independent
History and Analysis of Galapagos Tourism up to 1993 from American University
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