1 Aug 2009

Galápagos & Ecology?

Visited the Galápagos islands, Ecuador, this year.

The 'Charles Darwin Research Foundation', founded by a Belgian, is an unusal zoo situated next to Puerto Ayora, the prime tourist spot of Santa Cruz island.

Darwin is renowned for his discretion on the theory of evolution : the survival of the most adapted; Puerto Ayola zoo is famous for its adaptation of the least adapted. The century-old tortoise, Lonely George, is the last of a species of giant tortoise about to become extinct since he has no surving mate. No problem, the Foundation has deposited two females of another species in his caged area to see if he will mate. To date George has not done this to the disappointment of the 5 planes of human species of tourists who disembark on Galápagos each day.

Speaking of 5 Airbus planes a day, the Galápagos airport, built by the US military during World War II on Santa Cruz island, is now called an Eco airport. Eco as in ecological? Yes sir, the first ecological airport in the the world!. You may well ask: how can an airport which lands and sees off 5 Airbuses a day be ecological? It's the branding and cash flow, not the ecological reality, that counts.

By the way, the airport is around 45 minutes by bus and ferry from the capital, Puerto Ayora. This entails a ferryboat and a bustrip or taxi for all who land on Galápagos. Needless to say both the bus or taxi and the ferryboat spew out carbon monoxide to be added to the carbon footprint left by the departing Airbus. Did someone say ecological trip?

Many 'introduced' species were brought to the Galápagos islands by pirates and sailors. One of these was the tick bird (garapatero) which was introduced to rid the imported cattle of worriesome ticks:

However, the tick birds found that plundering the nests of the endemic species was easier and allowed them to survive better. Man has decided that this is not the 'endemic' way of living and has decided to eliminate the tick birds. If we followed this logic we would also eliminate the human population as non-endemic. But we are also of the human species so we don't apply this logic.

Is Galápagos a brand rather than a place? Is it a place where Mankind poses as God almighty?