If you’re an animal lover, don’t miss the chance to visit Galapagos.
Blinded by light, gasping for air and disorientated by sound entering this world is an overwhelming sensory experience for a newborn animal. But when it comes to selecting a place to start life. There are few more idyllic choices than the Galapagos, a collection of 13 major islands in South America in the Pacific Ocean.
In December, sea lions give birth all over San Cristobal, one of four inhabited islands in the Galapagos.
This miracle of nature, scavenging frigate birds shared a flight path with Avianca airplanes from the mainland overhead. Afew metres away, children swim in the sea.
Sea lions cohabitate with humans on the Galapagos Islands. Ten years ago there was not so many sea lions. But lately they’ve been coming into town.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Galapagos .
There are 25,000 legal residents fortunate enough to live permanently on the archipelago.Since the 1960s, when stricter fishing quotas were introduced and tourism boomed, many people have found employment in the hospitality industry .
The picture hasn’t always been so perfect. When the Galápagos National Park was defined in 1959, 97% of the land was allocated for conservation. Most recent invasive species, Homo sapiens, just a 3% slice of the pie.
Between 1999 and 2005, the human population grew by 60%. A rate much faster than on the Ecuadorian mainland. In 2007, there was talk of putting Galápagos on the list of World Heritage in Danger sites, prompting the Ecuadorian government to toughen migration laws.
Yet, for so many people this is home, now, Genovesa’s red-footed booby birds and Fernandina’s flightless cormorants co-habitate with humans. It is a challenge to create a sustainable future without marring a pristine environment in the process.
For the most part, folks and fauna seem to be getting along fine. On Santa Cruz, the archipelago’s most populous island, pelicans regularly rock up to the open-air fish market in port town Puerta Ayora.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Galapagos !
Amusing and endearing, these episodes also communicate a poignant message: with time (and respect), different species can comfortably coexist.