Galápagos Conservancy

Galápagos Celebrates 45 Years as a Natural World Heritage Site

Galápagos Celebrates 45 Years as a Natural World Heritage Site
Blue-footed boobies ©Joshua Vela

The Galápagos Archipelago, also known as the ‘Enchanted Islands’, commemorates 45 years since it was recognized by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site. This distinction, awarded on September 8, 1978, highlights the unique biodiversity that characterizes these islands, a well-deserved acknowledgment that gives them international prestige.

The conservation of the ‘Enchanted Islands’ is a monumental task that the Galápagos National Park Directorate (DPNG) has taken on with firmness and passion. The 314 park rangers that make up the institution carry out a vital mission daily, protecting every corner of this world heritage. However, this effort shouldn’t be only a task for a few: continuous integration and collaboration with local communities and visitors are essential to ensure sustainable and conscious use of Galápagos’ natural wealth.

Working together with the DPNG is essential for our General Director, scientist Washington Tapia. This collaboration with the park rangers goes beyond a simple alliance; it’s a vital strategy. “Our purpose is not just to manage resources from the US to Galápagos. We are committed to ecosystem restoration and species recovery. Moreover, it is fundamental for us to promote projects that place the community at the center of conservation,” states Tapia.

The Galápagos Archipelago, being the first site to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list and meeting its four criteria, stands out for its uniqueness and global relevance. This distinction is due to its impressive natural beauty, its rich and unique species diversity, its volcanic origin, and its ever-changing geological dynamics. The presence of numerous animal and plant species, exclusive to these islands, underscores the significance of Galápagos as an invaluable legacy for all humanity. The 234 islands, islets, and rocks that make up the archipelago, according to the Galápagos Protected Areas Management Plan, house unique ecosystems that captivate and amaze the entire world.

Commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Galápagos Islands’ designation as a Natural World Heritage Site is not merely an act of celebration but a constant reminder of the responsibility that comes with protecting and preserving this biodiversity sanctuary. This distinction, beyond being an honorary title, is a call to action for both institutions and the global community to work together in conserving a place that, in essence, belongs to each and every one of us.

Galápagos Celebrates 45 Years as a Natural World Heritage Site
Green sea turtle ©Joshua Vela