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Galapagos conservation issues - ecotourism - ecology

Galapagos Islands conservation

For millions of years the Galapagos Islands went undisturbed by man. Shortly after their discovery in 1535 visitors began to pillage the island's natural resources. Tortoises, whales and fur seals were all hunted to near extinction. Plants and animals were introduced to the islands, which changed the natural balance of life and further endangered the native species. In the 1930's, with the advent of William Bebe's book Galapagos the World's End the first laws were passed to protect this area. Unfortunately since there was no enforcement of the laws they had little effect.

Finally in 1959, the 100th anniversary of the publishing of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, the first real progress in conservation was made. A non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research and conservation of the islands was established as the Charles Darwin Foundation. The government of Ecuador also established 90% of the islands as the Galapagos National Park the same year. Together they have had an established presence in the islands since the 1960's and are working towards preservation of the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve.