Invasive species, from large goats to tiny fire ants and microorganisms, are the largest challenge in Galapagos conservation. (Photos courtesy of GNP)
The year 2007 was a watershed in many ways, in terms of international, national and local discussions related to the many challenges associated with Galapagos conservation.
In April of 2007, the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, declared the Galapagos Islands “at risk” and their protection a national priority through Emergency Decree 207. President Correa made this announcement during a visit of a United Nations delegation (UNESCO) which was to determine whether the archipelago should be put on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. The decree called for a variety of immediate conservation measures including the restriction of some tourism permits, the return of individuals with “irregular” residency to the mainland, finding a comprehensive plan to control the spread of invasive species, implementing educational reform, and ensuring the development of sustainable businesses.