Galapagos islands of Ecuador is one of the few sites on our earth where we can see the amazing wild and marine species in their natural habitat and which are absolutely unfamiliar with mankind. The islands territory of the Galapagos has remained far from human reach because of shortage of fresh water and the stretches of unproductive lava lands. The Galapagos islands are a collection of 19 small islands and many islets and are situated in the Pacific ocean almost 1000 km away from South American coast.
The prominent islands are Isabela, Santa Cruz, Fernandina, Santiago and San Cristobal. The islands are relatively younger in their ages and have emerged due to the massive volcanic activity in this region. These islands are also associated with Charles Darwin who paid his visit here in 1835 and presented his famous theory of Evolution by getting inspiration from the Galapagos islands. Galapagos islands is a world heritage site that was granted a National Park status in 1959.
The islands are located in the form of a chain and geographically they exist in both the northern and southern hemisphere. The oldest island was formed due to a volcanic blow almost 5 million years ago and the youngest islet 2 years before due to lava eruption process which occurs over here time to time. The climatic condition of the islands is a blend of tropical and cold currents thus it has provided a unique atmosphere for the development of amazing habitats.
The fauna of the Galapagos consists of mammals, reptile and bird species. The mammals are found only a few in number including Galápagos fur seal, Galápagos sea lion, two species of rice rat, bat and hoary bat. The endemic reptiles which are considered endangered include terrestrial iguanas, marine iguana, three racer species, a number of lizards of the genus and geckos. There are almost 28 birds species in these islands who are native to this territory although many other immigrant birds pay visit to these islands. Dark-rumped petrel, Galápagos flightless cormorant, Galápagos penguin, lava gull, Floreana mockingbird, Galápagos hawk, lava heron, nocturnal swallow-tailed gull, Galápagos rail, thick-billed flycatcher, Galápagos martin and Galápagos dove are noticeable species. Numerous species of sharks, rays and Cetaceans exist in the marine waters of these islands. Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle are also commonly seen. The indigenous verdure life consists of 13 species of Darwin’s finches, including Floreana tree finch and mangrove finch.
Galapagos islands of Ecuador are under severe environmental threats. The illegal fishing activities and oil spills in the surrounding area has caused danger to the marine lives. Many animals and plants which have been brought up here by humans are also a permanent danger to the native inhabitants. The rapid growth of human population and tourism activities are also creating problems for the habitats. Although the Ecuador government is taking positive steps to safeguard this area yet more solid efforts are needed to preserve this unique gift of nature from permanent destruction.
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