Development threatens Galapagos Islands

August 25, 2006

Officials in Ecuador are worried about the recent discovery of a foreign iguana and turtle on the Galapagos Islands.

The inspiration for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the islands 600 miles off the Ecuadorean coast are constantly under attack from foreign species, the BBC reports.

Sadly efforts to preserve the unique ecology of the Galapagos is constantly being challenged by a booming tourist industry, fishermen and a growing number of migrants from the mainland.

Despite inspections of all incoming ships and planes, an iguana and a turtle that most likely came from the mainland of South America were spotted.

Officials say the iguana is particularly worrisome since it is the type which breeds rapidly and could compete with indigenous varieties.

Naturalists are currently working to eradicate thousands of feral goats which pose a direct threat to the giant Galapagos tortoise.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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