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It appears that the Galapagos Islands are being loved a little too much. Travelers visiting this unique island chain to see endemic creatures like Giant Tortoises and Blue Footed Boobies are having an impact. On an archipelago with a resident population of about 30,000, annual tourist visitation has now topped 241,000. Imagine 20 jet loads of 200 tourists arriving every week, and you get the idea. Some 45 percent of tourists are now land-based—way up from 10 years ago. In principle, this is a good idea, if well managed. It benefits local communities. Indeed, increasing numbers of fishermen have now switched to operating tour boats, relieving pressure on the fishery. However, more people on the islands means more pressure on existing infrastructure, encroachment on animal habitats and a heightened risk of introducing invasive plant and animal species. This is the challenge for the community and the wildlife - a balance of human visitation with the conservation of Galapagos' unique habitat and animal inhabitants...
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MP15-2162
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) with pouch distended for catching fish in shallow water, Borrero Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador
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Vegetarian Tree Finch (Camarhynchus crassirostris), Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador
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Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) in water, Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) group photographed by tourist, Fernandina Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) flying, Alcedo Volcano, Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2167
Nazca Booby (Sula granti) group on coast, Punta Suarez, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) on nest with eggs along coast, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2169
Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) pair performing courtship dance, Punta Cevallos, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) recently formed pair, female inspecting male in courtship display with extended gular pouch, Genovesa Tower Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) shares habitat with seaborne trash from shipping trade, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2172
Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) incubating eggs in nest, Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2173
Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) group and tourists, Gardner Bay, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) pair squabbling on beach, Santa Fe Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Volcan Alcedo Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra vandenburghi) pair in volcanic landscape, Alcedo Volcano, Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2176
Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) with tourists, vulnerable, Fernandina Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2177
Tourists on municipal dock boarding zodiac boats, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Sally Lightfoot Crab (Grapsus grapsus) group sharing boulder with Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) trio to escape high tide, Mosquera Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) pair foraging, Punta Cormorant, Floreana Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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MP15-2180
Unloading cargo on the dock, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), Galapagos Shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis), Dusky Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus), and Black-tip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) group working with Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) and Rainbow Runners (Elagatis bipinnulata) to shoal up Bigeye Scad (Selar crumenophthalmus) and Amberstripe Scad (Decapterus muroadsi)
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