The Galapagos archipelago is a string of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (965 kilometres) off the coast of Ecuador.
GV PAN View over island showing larva, rocks and trees.
SV & CU Cactus plants. (2 SHOTS)
CU Iguana feeding on cactus plant.
CU Tortoise clambering across rocks.
GV Bird flying over lake in volcanic territory.
MV Bee among blossom.
CU Darwin's finch on branch.
CU Blue-footed booby.
MCU Hawk perched on rock.
MV Penguin on shore.
GV & CU Sea birds on rock. (2 SHOTS)
MV Sea bird in flight over waves.
MV Sally Lightfoot crabs. (2 SHOTS)
GV Marine iguanas and crab on rocks.
CU Marine iguanas on rocks.
MV Seal with pup.
GV Young seals playing in water.
SV PAN Incubators with national park guards placing tortoise into sack. (2 SHOTS)
MV PAN Incubating pens with tortoise eggs.
MV Guard places eggs into incubator. (2 SHOTS)
SV Keeper opens incubator and shows land iguanas inside. (3 SHOTS)
The government of Ecuador says it will limit to 12,000 the number of tourist who will be permitted to visit the Galapagos Islands each year. At present about 10,000 visitors come to the islands every year, but the government is adamant that the species on the islands are too valuable to be thrown open to full-scale tourist exploitation. Although not a rich country, Ecuador values the ecology of the Galapagos more than the extra money gained from tourism.
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Background: The Galapagos archipelago is a string of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (965 kilometres) off the coast of Ecuador. Scientists are still arguing about how they were formed - but one fact is beyond dispute -- the islands' situation made it possible for an abundance of wild life to develop unmolested and make special adaption to the unusual environment.
SYNOPSIS: By 20th century standards the Galapagos are still a haven of emptiness and quiet. Here, over many centuries, strange plants and animals evolved with special characteristics for survival. This land iguana, for example, eats much salter food than its mainland brothers, and it thrives on the prickly pear cactus. There were once thousands of giant tortoises, but early whalers all but annihilated them. Now only careful conservation ensures their survival.
The same story of destruction can be told about many other species on the Galapagos. When the 19th century naturalist Charles Darwin landed on the islands and drew from them the inspiration for his influential work on the evolution of mankind, "Origin of the Species", he described one island that was so thick in vegetation it took two days to walk to the centre.
The Foundation removes tortoise eggs, rears them in incubators and raises them after hatching. Only when they are five years old are the young creatures strong enough to withstand attacks from dogs. Likewise the land iguanas. Scientists on the Galapagos Islands have cultivated the eggs in incubators and they say this is the first time it has been achieved successfully in the world.