This blog is a collaborative effort of GC staff, colleagues, scientists, supporters, and friends. This space will be used to share amazing stories about all things Galapagos and our efforts to conserve these treasured islands.

Galapagos and Beyond: July Roundup

Our July roundup finally brings closure to the Galapaface fiasco off the coast of San Cristóbal, thankfully with minimal environmental impact. July also premiered the hour-long episode of Radiolab solely dedicated to Galapagos, and marks the submission deadline for the GC annual photo contest. Finally, we bring you a nifty online resource for recording your observations in nature, anywhere in the world, and share a can't-miss penguin slideshow. 


68 Days Later: Wrecked Cargo Ship Finally Removed from GMR

More than two months after running aground off Punta Carola on San Cristóbal Island, the cargo ship Galapaface I was successfully towed approximately 20 nautical miles east of the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) and sunk on July 16, 2014. The Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment and the Galapagos National Park were concerned that the ship posed a contamination risk after running aground on May 9th, which brought back memories of the oil tanker Jessica that ran aground in 2001 —  spilling 175,000 gallons of diesel and fuel oil. Thankfully, the Galapaface I did not meet a similar fate, as its fuel stores and other contaminants were carefully removed shortly after running aground. Plans are in place to conduct additional environmental monitoring studies to ensure the fragile marine ecosystems surrounding San Cristóbal have not sustained any lasting damage.


Radiolab Features Galapagos

In case you missed the thought-provoking episode of Radiolab that touched on some of the biggest conservation successes and challenges in the Galapagos Islands, take the time to download or stream it now. Produced by WNYC and picked up by more than 450 NPR stations across the US, Radiolab's podcasts are downloaded by more than 4 million people each month. This rare hour-long episode solely dedicated to Galapagos features interviews with GC's Science Advisor Linda Cayot and many of our grantees and partners in the Islands. Its exploration of the human impact on the fragile ecosystems of Galapagos and the ensuing challenges to preserve and restore the archipelago have garnered more than 50 comments on the Radiolab website alone about this compelling topic. Hear what people are talking about.


Featured Online Resource:

We've mentioned the concept of citizen science several times in this blog, which relies on members of the community to report their observations from the natural world. In Galapagos, such information often comes from naturalist guides and visitors to the Islands. The website provides an online platform for citizen scientists to share their observations of the outdoors, anywhere in the world. According to the iNaturalist website, if enough people record their observations, it could serve as "a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity." A quick search for Galapagos yields information on dozens of plant and animal species, including a description, photo, map location, and the first and last confirmed observation of a particular species (as reported on the site). Online tools like this have the potential to advance conservation science by bringing together a breadth of information, all with the help of citizen naturalists.


Photographing Galapagos Wildlife

Anyone who has visited Galapagos knows what a rare opportunity the Islands present for capturing amazing photographs of wildlife, most of which seem indifferent to the presence of humans (or even curious). As the GC Annual Photo Contest winds down for the 10th consecutive year, we thought we'd share some helpful tips for photographing Galapagos wildlife from Andrew Evans of National Geographic Traveler. Understanding the behavior of the animals, anticipating their movements, and having plenty of patience are some of the words of wisdom Evans provides in this piece from 2013. And don't be afraid to get on the ground — as Evans states, "good wildlife photography should make you sweat a bit." We look forward to seeing many more great shots of Galapagos wildlife in next year's photo contest, with the help of Evans' insightful advice.


Penguin Profiles from

We regularly hear from our GC members how much they love penguins — and really, who doesn't appreciate a penguin? When we came across Mother Nature Network's penguin slideshow, which features 10 penguin species in total, we knew we had to share it here.

Complete with photos and a brief snippet of information about each bird, this slideshow will satisfy any need for penguin cuteness. The rare Galapagos penguin comes in at #10. Enjoy!


Galapagos and Beyond: June Roundup

June is the beginning of the “dry season” in Galapagos, known for its blue skies and mid-afternoon showers. It also marked the annual “World Oceans Day” and two-year anniversary of Lonesome George’s death. We cover these events and report on …

The Memory of Lonesome George Lives On

  Two years ago today, the world lost Lonesome George — the last known Pinta Island tortoise, who had become a global icon for conservation. The story of Lonesome George continues to inspire the vital work of protecting and rebuilding giant tortoise …

Summer Update from Galapagos: Annual Cruise and Tortoise Planning

I recently returned from a month in Galapagos, first enjoying the Islands with a wonderful group of people on the annual Galapagos Conservancy cruise, and then delving into decades of herpetology files at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) — a …

Galapagos and Beyond: May Roundup

May was a busy month for Galapagos, from a new study on Darwin’s Finches’ fight for survival to the cargo ship that remains stranded on the rocks off of San Cristobal. Here we recap some of the month’s top stories. …

“Understanding Galapagos:” What a Galapagos Guide Book Should Be

Renowned as they are, there is still so much that remains little-known about the Galapagos Islands. Start with the fact that it wasn’t actually the Darwin finches that inspired Charles Darwin, but the mockingbirds. Equally, nearly anyone realizes just how …

Galapagos and Beyond: April Roundup

Galapagos has been in the news quite a bit lately, and not just among the “top 10 best travel destinations” lists that have been cropping up. In this month’s roundup, we highlight some recent news and interesting stories from Galapagos. …

Behind the Galapagos Tortoise Cams: Part II

In Part I of the tortoise cam blog series, we heard about some of the technical aspects of getting the cams up and running from Dr. James Gibbs of SUNY-ESF and Sean Burnett of Wildlife Intel. In the second and final installment, they …

Behind the Galapagos Tortoise Cams: Part I

In the summer of 2013, the first-ever wildlife webcams were installed in the Galapagos Islands: specifically, in four tortoise pens at the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center at the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) campus on Santa Cruz. In addition to support …
Tortoise Cam

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