}

Animals of the Galápagos.



Blue-Footed Booby
Photograph by Tim Laman
Not just attractive physical features, the blue feet of this booby can be used to cover its chicks and keep them warm.


Bottlenose Dolphin Peaking Above Water
Photograph by Bill Curtsinger
Their intelligence, friendly disposition, and "smiling" faces make dolphins popular in large aquariums and with divers.


Hammerhead Shark
Photograph by Brian J. Skerry
Hammerheads are aggressive hunters, feeding on smaller fish, octopuses, squid, and crustaceans. They do not actively seek out human prey, but are very defensive and will attack when provoked.




Red-Footed Booby on a Tree Branch
Photograph by Tim Laman
Smallest of the boobies, the red-foot feeds at sea, nests on the ground, and perches in coastal trees.



Green Sea Turtle
Photograph by Tim Laman
Green sea turtles are reptiles whose ancestors evolved on land and took to the sea to live about 150 million years ago. They are one of the few species so ancient that they watched the dinosaurs evolve and become extinct.


Black-Browed Albatross
Photograph by Steve Raymer

Wide-winged and long-lived, albatrosses are rarely seen on land, preferring to stay out on the ocean except to mate and raise their young.

Marine Iguana Basking in the Sun
Photograph by Rob Stewart/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes
Found only on the Galápagos Islands, marine iguanas often wear distinctive white "wigs" of salt expelled from glands near their noses.

Galápagos Tortoise With Neck Outstretched
Photograph by Tim Laman
The largest of the tortoises, the endangered Galápagos tortoise is incredibly long-lived. One captive tortoise lived over 150 years.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Photograph by Nick Caloyianis
A hawksbill turtle swims just above the seafloor with flippers spread like wings. Hawksbills get their name from their tapered heads, which end in a sharp point resembling a bird's beak.
The Galápagos islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish. The islands have a population of around 23,000.

The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

The first crude navigation chart of the islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates or after the English noblemen who helped the privateer's cause. More recently, the Ecuadorian government gave most of the islands Spanish names. While the Spanish names are official, many users (especially ecological researchers) continue to use the older English names, particularly as those were the names used when Charles Darwin visited.

The group consists of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The islands are located at the Galapagos Triple Junction. It is also atop the Galapagos hotspot, a place where the Earth's crust is being melted from below by a mantle plume, creating volcanoes. The oldest island is thought to have formed between 5 million and 10 million years ago. The youngest islands, Isabela and Fernandina, are still being formed, with the most recent volcanic eruption in April 2009 where lava from the volcanic island Fernandina started flowing both towards the island's shoreline and into the center caldera.

In 1959, the centenary year of Charles Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the archipelago's land area a national park, excepting areas already colonised. The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) was founded the same year. The core responsibility of CDF, an international non-governmental organization constituted in Belgium, is to conduct research and provide the research findings to the Government of Ecuador for effective management of Galápagos. CDF´s research efforts work began with the establishment of the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in 1964. During the early years conservation programs, such as eradication of introduced species and protection of native species, were carried out by research station personnel. Now much of that work is accomplished by the Galapagos National Park Service using the research findings and methodologies developed by CDF.

In 1986 the surrounding 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 sq mi.) of ocean was declared a marine reserve, second only in size to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In 1990 the archipelago became a whale sanctuary. In 1978 UNESCO recognised the islands as a World Heritage Site, and in 1985 a Biosphere Reserve. This was later extended in December 2001 to include the marine reserve.
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Maria Susana Diaz

I like nature, cooking and photography. In my travels between Argentina and Italy I prefer witness through photography environment, natural and gastronomic riches.

1 comment:

  1. Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galapagos in 1835 is one of the most famous few weeks in the history of science. Historians today seem to agree that those fleeting moments spent on the islands and all the marvelous animals and plants the young Darwin encountered later lend him to become an evolutionist. The world soon followed, though reluctantly at the beginning.


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