Posts Tagged ‘galapagosfamilies2010’

Conservation and the Galápagos Islands

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
The Northern Elephant Seal Pup  Photograph by Thomas Schnetlage

Northern Elephant Seal Pup. Photo: Thomas Schnetlage

The Galápagos Islands are known worldwide for their stunning beauty and environmental diversity. Due to their unique location, size, and home to plants and animals found anywhere else in the world, the islands are in need of environmental conservation and were recognized in 1978 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a result, tourist organizations are very careful not to harm the sensitive islands while visiting.

Here are some other interesting facts about the islands:

  1. They are one of the few locations in the world that do not have and have never had an indigenous human population.
  2. In 1959, about 1,500 souls called the islands home. By 2006, the population had ballooned to as many as 40,000.
  3. Although there are eighteen main islands that make up the Galápagos Islands, only five are inhabited by people – Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal, and Santa Cruz.
  4. The islands have a healthy diverse plant and animal population, but have struggled to maintain them due to species that have been introduced by humans. 700 plants have been introduced by visitors since European discovery in 1535 – compared to the 500 native plants. As a result, there is competition between the two groups for survival.
  5. The same can be said for animals – British pirates first released goats on the islands to use for food. Today, non-native animals still include goats, as well as pigs, dogs, rats, cats, mice, sheep, horses, donkeys, cows, poultry, ants, cockroaches, and some parasites. Dogs and cats may attack birds and damage their nests. Pigs can destroy the nests of tortoises, turtles, and iguanas.

The good news is there are many professionals keeping an eye on the environmental balance of the islands, including the Galapagos National Park and The Darwin Foundation. To help learn, study, and educate yourself about our world’s oceans, we recommend the Smithsonian’s own Ocean Portal, which includes tools for educators, amazing photo essays, and information on how you can make a difference in preserving these precious resources.

What would you do to conserve the Galápagos Islands? Share your ideas.

Visit the Galapágos with your family! Click here for more information.

Galápagos!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
Blue footed boobies are some of the many striking birds native to the Galapagos.

Blue footed boobies are some of the many striking birds native to the Galapagos.

Some of the most unusual wildlife found on Earth is living on the Galápagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. From sea lions and tropical fish to penguins and iguanas, the islands are teeming with animals who are as curious about you as you are about them. To the Left, a blue footed booby gets ready for a dance, which he’ll choreograph to impress the ladies, showing off his blue feet and flapping his wings. When a female bird finally chooses him, he’ll mate for life, taking his turn each season to incubate their eggs.

Click here to find out more about our Galápagos  adventure setting sail this July.

Which wild animal would you most like to get close to? Share please!

March is Women in Science Month

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

March is Women in Science Month at the Smithsonian. In today’s video, check out whale researcher Nan Hauser’s close encounter with a humpback and her calf, thanks to the folks at Smithsonian Channel.


 

For your own close encounters with wildlife, check out our Galapagos Family Adventure. Limited space is still available on our July departure. Click here for more Women in Science.

Galápagos

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Galápagos

As we make our way through one of the snowiest winters Washington has seen in quite a while, it’s always refreshing to think of warmer climes. Today, take a minute to close your eyes and imagine that you and your family are snorkeling with the sea turtles in warm, sunny Galápagos, where the weather’s nice and the animals are friendly.

Click to learn more about our Family Galápagos tour.

Have you been to the Galápagos? What did you experience?