Galapagos volcano, home to endangered lizard, erupts

The Wolf Volcano, the highest on the Galapagos Islands, erupted early Friday
The Wolf Volcano, the highest on the Galapagos Islands, erupted early Friday.

A volcano on a Galapagos island that is home to a species of critically endangered lizard has erupted for the second time in seven years, national park officials said Friday.

The Wolf volcano's slopes host the pink iguana, only 211 of which were reported to be left on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, as of last August.

The eruption began around midnight Thursday, the Galapagos National Park (PNG) said in a statement.

A team of park rangers and scientists working with the iguanas confirmed Friday that the creatures were out of harm's way, it added.

For its part, the Geophysical Institute of Quito said the 1,707-meter (5,600-foot) volcano spewed gas-and-ash clouds as high as 3,800 meters into the air, with lava flows on its southern and southeastern slopes.

The volcano, the highest of the Galapagos, is some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the nearest human settlement.

The area also hosts yellow iguanas and the famous Galapagos giant tortoises.

Located in the Pacific some 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a protected wildlife area and home to unique species of flora and fauna.

The archipelago was made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin's observations on evolution there.

The Galapagos pink iguana lives exclusively around the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island
The Galapagos pink iguana lives exclusively around the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island.

The Wolf volcano last erupted in 2015 after 33 years of inactivity, without affecting local wildlife.

The pink iguanas that inhabit its slopes were identified as a separate species only in 2009, and occupy an area of 25 square kilometers (10 square miles). They are found nowhere else.

Isabela island also hosts four other active volcanos.


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