Geography Galapagos

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  • Galapagos Islands
    • 50 volcanic islands lie 1000km west of South America in the Pacific, belonging to Ecuador
    • Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution after a voyage here
    • 90% of the islands are National Park/ marine reserve
    • Protection began in 1930s
    • Islands are the most precious, fragile ecosystems in the world
    • First  UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979
    • Biosphere reserve and whale sanctuary
    • Tourists under strict rules: arrive by small ships that tour the islands and allow people on only at specific points in limited numbers. 8 day cruises costs £800 without flights.
    • Galapagos conservation trust receives £25 out of their holiday which pays for conservation work
    • Tour  boats owned by locals and take 10-16 tourists each, many accompanied by guides (pros). Visitors given accurate information and prevented from causing damage.
    • Problems
      • Over used sites, oil from boats polluting, islands' water supply put under pressure, death of animals, illegal fishing, erosion, new species threaten old, new diseases, overharvestingof sea cucumbers
    • Benefits
      • Environmental
        • Local people have to make a living but the fragile environment with such limitations for agriculture and other basic industries makes this hard so opportunities can arise without environmental damage.
        • Encourages sustainable management
      • Economic
        • Local businesses provide to the needs of tourists. Companies have grown to provide boat trips.
        • People employed, income enough to make difference to household, tips directly to locals.
      • Social
        • Infrastructure, schools, education

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