Location• The Galapagos Islands are a group of islands, or an archipelago that are located around the equator just West of Ecuador.• Ecuador is the current owner of these islands.• The largest island Isabela, is 1771 sq. miles(1).
Terrain• It is made up of 13 large islands and hundreds of smaller ones.• Has many different terrains like deserts and subtropical forests.• The estimated age of the Islands is between 3 and 10 million years.(1)
Species• The islands and the waters that surround the islands are home to 9,000 species.• Most of the species there are not found anywhere else• People are the new species here, having first set foot on the islands in the 1800s and arriving in greater numbers in the 1920s.(2)
“Lonesome George”• A tortoise from the pinta island, is one of the most rarest animals alive.• Can live up to 90 years of age.• Recent, efforts to reproduce the Lonesome George have unfortunately failed.
The Galapagos Penguin• The Galapagos penguin is the only to be found in the northern hemisphere and to breed in the tropics(1).
Galapagos Marine IguanaIt is the only iguana in the world that can swim underwater.
Climate• Only had 2 seasons, warm and wet from December to May, and cool and dry from June to December.• The convergence of three major oceanic currents(panama current, South Equatorial Current, Peru current) brings an incredible mix of marine life to Galapagos(1).• The climate is also affected by the ocean currents.
Issues: Early Damaging• Pirates who passed by these Islands took a damaging effect on the wildlife early on.• Giant tortoises were collected by pirates for food.• 24% of plant species and 50% of vertebrate species are still considered as endangered due to human activity in earlier times.(1)
Issues: Humans• Population and tourism also changes the environment which is very fragile.• Clandestine fishing of black coral, lobster, shark fin, sea cucumber and sea horse is incredibly destructive to the marine life.(1)
Issues: El Nino• 50% of marine life die from a sudden climate change or El nino.• El Niño is a phenomenon that occurs roughly every 5-7 years. The southeast trade winds slacken and cause the sea temperatures to rise dramatically and cause storms and heavy rainfall.(1)
Protection• Ecuador declared all the desolate land in Galapagos a national park in 1959.• Dogs and goats have been removed from the smaller islands to preserve other species.• Environmental education efforts on the Islands help their inhabitants understand the larger picture and need for conservation, and responsible tourism and enforced park guidelines help preserve the Galapagos for the future.(3)
Protection• Although Galapagos has a trust fund, it does not receive much money.• Conservations rely mostly on philanthropists for donations.
Adopt A Blue Footed Bobby• You can donate to the World Wildlife Fund and adopt a blue footed bobby.• Can receive a blue footed bobby plush with certain packages.• For more info: http://www.worldwildlife.org/gift- center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Blue- footed- Booby.aspx?sc=AWY1200WC900