The fight for the Galápagos: ecologists seek bigger reserve as fishing fleets circle


Ecuador’s president to decide on proposal to expand islands’ marine reserve, seen as vital to protect world heritage site from fishing industry

Strolling along a beach dotted with sea lion pups and their mothers barking at one another, utterly unconcerned by your presence, is a singularly magical experience. On the trail leading to the shore on tiny Seymour Island, noisily courting blue-footed boobies and frigate birds are equally unruffled by the presence of humans.

Getting up close to the natural world without disturbing it seems as refreshingly easy on the Galápagos Islands today as when Charles Darwin visited on HMS Beagle in 1835. Isolated from the mainland, the archipelago’s unique endemic species – from giant tortoises to finches – helped Darwin set out his theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species.

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