The future of the Galapagos

The Galápagos Islands have evolved into a spectacular place filled with wondrous plants and animals. Many are found nowhere else on Earth. The islands have more endemic species than any other island cluster in the world. Forty‑two percent of the plants; 79 percent of mammals; 80 percent of birds; 91 percent of reptiles and 56 percent of insects are endemic to the Galápagos.

In their isolation, the islands have become a living laboratory for scientists. Yet, invasive species pose grave threats to the Galápagos’ unique ecosystems. We are one of those threats. Today, more than 30,000 people live on the islands. More than 160,000 tourists visit every year. Our footprint leaves an indelible mark on this place. To visit the Galápagos Islands is a remarkable privilege. We are honor‑bound to be good stewards.

What can we do? We can protect vulnerable species and ecosystems. We can limit the introduction of invasive species. We can promote climate research. We can promote community awareness. Can we do these things alone? No. It will take all of us, working together to protect this special place.