Fighting the Invasive Species of the Galapagos: Humans

Drawn to the Galapagos Islands by their booming tourism industry, thousands of poor Ecuadorians are being booted from the sensitive ecosystem to counteract the negative impact of the rising human population.
October 7, 2009, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The burgeoning human population of the Galápagos, which doubled to about 30,000 in the last decade, has unnerved environmentalists. They point to evidence that the growth is already harming the ecosystem that allowed the islands' more famous inhabitants - among them giant tortoises and boobies with brightly colored webbed feet - to evolve in isolation before mainlanders started colonizing the islands more than a century ago.

The growth has become enough of a threat to the environment that even the government, which still welcomes growth in the tourism industry, has expelled more than 1,000 poor Ecuadoreans in the past year from a province that they feel is rightfully theirs, and it is in the process of expelling many more."

Locals there are expressing outrage over the new policy, which they say places tourist experiences over the wellbeing of poor Ecuadoreans.

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Published on Sunday, October 4, 2009 in The New York Times
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