We are wish Galapagos Islands an everlasting paradise, don’t we? However, the harsh truth is that they are not, and it is up to us to make sure they remain the beautiful ecosystem they are today. Not only are they home to many species that only exist here but several animals are actually endangered and are at risk of disappearing forever. Even though the archipelago has been protected under a national park status since 1961, is still under threat. Below we dive into the reasons why the islands are suffering and what we can do to help.
The most recent occurrence of El Niño, which is a phenomenon that increases the temperature of the ocean waters significantly, brought severe storms that had a devastating effect on the islands. In Ecuador, an extensive research project about Climate Change in Galapagos was done to evaluate the imminent vulnerability of the ecosystems of the archipelago. The increase of the temperature can affect several of the marine species of Galapagos such as penguins, sharks, sea lions, turtles and iguanas, in addition to endemic vegetation of the islands, which would directly affect the population that depend on them.
One of the biggest benefits that tourism brings to the island is the increase in the economy and the thousands of people are employed by this industry. The problem is that local farmers and fishermen can’t keep up with the demand tourists bring. The increasing number of tourists staying at hotels has meant an excess of waste and garbage on the islands. Not only this but the high mortality rate in mangrove finches is worrying as every year trucks hit or run over at least 10,000 of these kind of species.
Ever since tourists started arriving to the islands, they brought with them non-native invasive animals that upset the fragile ecosystem that inhabits the Galapagos. Even though most of the animals seemed to be common and not dangerous, the effect that they caused to the ecosystem is catastrophic. For example, dogs that came with some of the first settlers on the islands, threatened turtles, iguanas and penguins eggs. Most recently, a new species of wasp has been detected in the islands, which is responsible for the decrease in the number of caterpillar larvae, which are an important source of food for the endemic finches.
Despite all these threats, a lot have been done to help the conservation of the Galapagos including: the Galapagos Seymour of Baltra Airport has been using renewable energy not to mention it was built using an environmentally-friendly design. The Galapagos parks also manage their services the best way possible, regulating guides, designating low-impact landing sites, and sets boundaries within the park to preserve and protect the natural flora and fauna that inhabit the islands.
Knowing all of these facts, what better way to help these islands than to stay at an eco friendly Hotel. At Ikala Galapagos Hotel hot water for the showers is entirely heated by solar energy and the garden’s lighting is also provided by photovoltaic solar panels, because we care about nature! Book a room in our eco friendly hotel by clicking here.