Wonder of Nature: Galapagos Islands [36 PICS]

August 10th, 2011 Permalink

The Galapagos Islands are made up of 18 main volcanic islands in an archipelago of Ecuador. These islands and the surrounding waters make up a national park and a biological marine reserve. The young naturalist Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection explaining evolution after researching the Galapagos Islands. These amazing islands are part of the ongoing series for finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the Nature competition. In 2007, UNESCO put the Galapagos Islands on the “List of World Heritage in Danger” due to the threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and overfishing. Time and again, poachers have come into the Galapagos National Park and slaughtered sea lions. However in July 2010, the World Heritage Committee removed the Galapagos Islands from the “endangered” list because significant progress had been made by Ecuador in addressing threats. Yet in July 2011, Ecuadorean authorities seized 357 dead sharks from a boat that was fishing illegally in the protected waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Since the Galapagos Islands have 170,000 visitors each year, new regulations have been introduced to protect the unique wildlife. Starting February 1, 2012, these new tourism regulations will limit vessels visiting the same site to no more than once during a 14-day period which may impact on travelers planning to visit the beautiful islands. So what do you think? Should the Galapagos Islands become one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature? [36 Photos]

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island in the Galapagos

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island. Sadly, the beautiful Galapagos Island which are rich with diverse wildlife has battled with human beasts as a huge threat. In 2008, Galapagos National Park officials announced that 53 sea lions (13 pups, 25 youngsters, 9 males and 6 females) were killed at Pinta, Galapagos Islands nature reserve, with their heads caved in. In 2001, poachers killed 35 male sea lions. Photo #1 by sly06

Galapagos Island Sunset

Galapagos Island Sunset. Photo #2 by Eric Schmuttenmaer


Land Iguana at the Darwin Center, Galapagos

Land Iguana at the Darwin Center, Galapagos. Photo #3 by Linda Paul

Red Sally lightfoot crab - Islas Plazas - Galapagos Islands

Red Sally lightfoot crab – Islas Plazas – Galapagos Islands. Photo #4 by Mark Rowland

Galapagos Blowhole

Galapagos Blowhole. Photo #5 by Linda Paul

Galapagos - Puerto Villamil

Galapagos – Puerto Villamil. Photo #6 by alh1

Galapagos tortoises mating

Galapagos tortoises mating. Photo #7 by Hamburgerin

This beautiful creature referred to as 'dandelion' Galapagos Rift Exploration 2011

This beautiful creature referred to as ‘dandelion’ was discovered by geologists during a 1977 expedition. Scientists now know that it is a siphonophore, a relative of the Portuguese man-of-war. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program Animals living near hydrothermal vents have to survive under harsh conditions like high pressure, steep temperature gradients, and high concentrations of toxic chemicals. Despite these seemingly inhospitable conditions, many animals do more than simply survive. They thrive. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011. Photo #8 by NOAA, Ocean Explorer

Galapagos flamingoes

Galapagos flamingoes. Photo #9 by alh1

San Christo Kicker Rock

San Christo Kicker Rock. Photo #10 by Mike Comber

Giant Galapagos Tortoises

Giant Galapagos Tortoises. Photo #11 by cliff1066™

Diamond stingray (Dasyatis dipterura) in the Galapagos

Diamond stingray (Dasyatis dipterura) in the Galapagos. Photo #12 by Rein Ketelaars from Nijmegen, Netherlands

Marine iguanas on Galapagos Islands

Marine iguanas on Galapagos Islands. Photo #13 by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Ecuador, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands

Ecuador, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands. Photo #14 by Rosalind Cohen, NODC, NOAA

Young eagle - Urbina Bay - Isabela Island - Galapagos Islands

Young eagle – Urbina Bay – Isabela Island – Galapagos Islands. Photo #15 by Mark Rowland

Darwin's Arch, Galapagos

Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos. Photo #16 by refractor

Galapagos napping seal and crab

Galapagos napping seal and crab. Photo #17 by kylemac

Mano, Galapagos Shark

Mano, Galapagos Shark. In July 2011, Ecuadorean authorities seized 357 dead sharks from a boat that was fishing illegally in the protected waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Photo #18 by NOAA

San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

This is the first island that Charles Darwin explored during his adventure on The Beagle in 1835. Photo #19 by Linda Paul

Galapagos Sea Lions Kissing

Sea Lions Kissing. Photo #20 by Linda Paul

Galapagos Red lava in the early morning light

Red lava in the early morning light. Photo #21 by alh1

Galapagos - This male sea lion came right up to my mask in a threat display when I swam too close to this spot when snorkeling

The photographer wrote, “This male sea lion came right up to my mask in a threat display when I swam too close to this spot when snorkeling.” Photo #22 by alh1

Marine Iguanas - Suarez Point - Espanola Island - Galapagos Islands

Marine Iguanas – Suarez Point – Espanola Island – Galapagos Islands. Photo #23 by Mark Rowland

Waterfall near Jatun Sacha, San Cristóbal, Galapagos, Ecuador

Waterfall near Jatun Sacha, San Cristóbal, Galapagos, Ecuador. Photo #24 by fabulousfabs

Sea Lions - Gardner Bay - Espanola Island - Galapagos Islands

Sea Lions – Gardner Bay – Espanola Island – Galapagos Islands. Photo #25 by Mark Rowland

Swallow-tailed gulls - Islas Plazas - Galapagos Islands

Swallow-tailed gulls – Islas Plazas – Galapagos Islands. Photo #26 by Mark Rowland

Galapagos Islands Crab taken for Marine Debris Photo

Galapagos Islands Crab taken for Marine Debris Photo Album. Photo #27 by NOAA

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands - An interesting rock formation and sealions at James Bay, Santiago Island

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands – An interesting rock formation and sealions at James Bay, Santiago Island. Photo #28 by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Sea Lions on Galapagos Islands

Sea Lions on Galapagos Islands. Photo #29 by Reinhard Jahn, Mannheim

Galapagos penguins on rocks of Galapagos Islands

Penguins on rocks of Galapagos Islands. Photo #30 by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Galapagos Islands 2010

Galapagos Islands 2010. Photo #31 by cdorobek

Marine iguana on rocks of Galapagos Islands

Marine iguana on rocks of Galapagos Islands. Photo #32 by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador. Photo #34 by fabulousfabs

Wonder why they're called blue-footed boobies

Wonder why they’re called blue-footed boobies? Photo #35 by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Vorotrip 2010 to the Galapagos Islands on board Grace

Sailing toward the Galapagos Islands. Photo #36 by cdorobek


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