Tourism threatens Galapagos Islands

Published: Tuesday 31 July 2007

The first place to become a World Heritage site, the Galapagos Islands, was recently declared under threat from "invasive species" by the UN. Experts say the 19-island archipalego and its surrounding ocean were threatened by increasing tourism and growing immigration.

The islands, off Ecuador's coast, are home to unique plant and animal life which have been protected by UNESCO through extended boundaries in 2001. According to the UN, increased international interest in the islands--Ecuador's most popular tourist attraction--was contributing to its gradual decline. The days spent by cruise passengers on ships has increased by 150 per cent in 15 years. This has led to an increase in immigration, said the UN report.

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