It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
– Charles Darwin
The Galapagos Archipelago, was were Darwin’s theory of evolution was born. It is comprised of 18 main islands and home to the most diverse collection of animals on the planet. These islands have evolved and adapted unique species of plants and wildlife, found nowhere else on this Earth and in 1978, these islands were named as a World Heritage site as they signified their value to humanity. (IGTOA, n.d.) Today these islands are a living laboratory of evolution, showing how the wildlife there adapts to survive with in a forever changing world.
Charles Darwin Foundation
Located on the shores of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, The Charles Darwin Research Station is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The Foundation is the beating heart of the Galapagos and it is crucial to it’s survival and protection. It is used to promote, facilitate and implement the scientific investigation necessary for the understanding of biological principles, better understanding of ecosystems, and adequate management of the islands’ natural resources. They collaborate with authorities and Ecuadorian institutions to implement programs involved in scientific investigations and have major contributions when it comes to education on the conservation of the islands.
During our time brief time there, we aided in supplying the CDF with archival photographs and footage to support their education and conservation efforts.
One of the greatest problems in the Galapagos Archipelago is the scarcity of water. The Galapagos Verde project was created to implement initiatives that promote saving this limited resource. “Galápagos Verde 2050” is a long-term project implemented by the Charles Darwin Foundation with the Galapagos National Park Directorate’s support. Overall, this project contributes to conserve Galapagos’ natural capital and the well-being of its human population.
When visiting the Galapagos we revisited the airport in Santa Cruz. This was where we not only got sunburnt but we had the privilege to meet
and interview certain members of this team that we helping to restore arid parts of the Galapagos.
This restoration project so far includes 37 study sites, distributed among several islands: Española, Floreana, Northern Isabela, South Plaza, Baltra, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz. Using three water-saving technologies, the goal is to achieve the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, and the development of sustainable agricultural practices and hopefully recover populations of endangered endemic species.
underwater Photography – rules and regs
- Only visit protected areaswithin the Galapagos National Park accompanied by a GNPD authorized naturalist guide.
- Don’t use a flash when taking pictures of the wildlife – any professional photography or videography for commercial use must be approved by the GNPD beforehand.
- Never take anything from the natural environment or habitats in the Galapagos – you can purchase souvenirs from stores in Puerto Villamil, Puerto Ayora, or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, or from any of the airports or local vendors. But never take anything made from black coral, native wood or vegetation, lava rock, shells, or animal parts, as these are banned substances.
- You can only fish from GNPD authorized recreational tour boats.
- You are not permitted to do any motorized aquatic sports or aerial tourismin the Marine Reserve or National Park.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from wildlife(even if they approach you). This is the best way to avoid disturbing them.
- Never give food to any wildlife- the circle of life in the Galapagos is delicately balanced; there’s no need for you to interfere, and it could even cause the animals health problems.
- Never introduce new food, animals, or plants to the Galapagos Islands; protection against invasive species has been a hard-won battle in the archipelago.