EQUADOR

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

The residents of Galapagos Islands in we engaged in an angry war of words with conservationists.Furious that modocian president, Doran Ballen, has a new law that would have allowed them to exploit more of the islands' resources, the islanders have threatened to cut off food supply to the animals at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Should the threat be carried out, it would affect the lifeline of iguanas and giant tortoises, including the last surviving member of the Pinta subspecies.

Frayed exchanges are nothing new between the local people and conservation scientists. Trouble was precipitated in February this year when the government shut down a lucrative seacucumber fishery before the end of its 3-month season. Furious fisherfolk responded by holding national park wardens hostage and threatening to kill the tortoises.

As a sequel to these incidents, the government began to draft a new conservation law for the Galapagos islands. However, in August, Eduardo Veliz, the deputy for the islands, persuaded the Ecuadorian Congress to pass his own law.

This law would have required the 50,000 tourists who visit the islands annuafly, to spend at least one night ashore. Conservationists feared that the law would lead to a huge increase in hotel building apart from increased fishing and more economic development within the national park. However, after intense lobbying by the Charles Darwin Foundation, the president vetoed the law on September 1.

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