Thursday, February 12, 2009

Galapagos - Rich biodiversity in jeopardy

Beautiful Galapagos islands, home of many endemic species is under great risk of losing their rich biodiversity because of increased number of tourists. In 2008 alone the number of tourists visiting Galapagos was more than 170,000, and if current trend continues Galapagos richness in species could be lost in years to come. The rising numbers of tourists have caused a real boom in the construction of hotels and a surge in imports from mainland Ecuador. And of course with the rise of tourists there also comes the huge rise of alien species as 112 were recorded in 1900 but by 2007 the total had leaped to 1,321. This presents severe threat to fragile Galapagos ecosystems.

Alien species are invading beautiful Galapagos islands because of increased number of tourists.

There are many alien species that are making real damage to native species including red ants that attack baby birds and young tortoises, and are really making their way on many Galapagos islands; then there is a parasitic fly which attacks young finches and mosquitoes- this has potential to spread the diseases which are known to exist on the mainland but have luckily not yet arrived here. Galapagos were in 2007 listed as a world heritage site in danger, and they are really in danger of losing many of its unique species in years to come.

The government of Ecuador will have to do their part to tackle this invasion of alien species because current conservation efforts are simply not enough. This will be very hard work because on one hand insects (that are currently the biggest threat) are very tough to eliminate, and on the other hand Ecuador is developing country in need of money with Galapagos providing major source of revenue.

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