To understand the environmental approaches that are taking place on the Galapagos archipelago,it’s important to get familiar with the Charles Darwin Research station and its origins. Since its beginning, many ecological projects have been applied through the Islands in order to preserve the bizarre flora and fauna, which are considered a world heritage by the UNESCO.
The Charles Darwin Research station is part of the Charles Darwin Foundation. The research station was sponsored by the UNESCO and the World Conservation Union in 1959, when many people, including well renowned biologists, realized that the uniqueness of the archipelago deserves a deeper attention, due to a high vulnerability of the fragile ecosystems.
Back in those days, the forecast of visitors that was estimated by researchers showed that the demand for this particular destination had a potential risk in the world , as well as in tourism industry within the years to come, jeopardizing in the long term, the flora and fauna of the islands.
In order to prevent a meaningful damage on the soil and the ecosystems of the archipelago, due to a high volume of visitors, it was necessary to create an entity that “will keep an eye” in the protection and conservation efforts , as well as catching up with the statistics regarding the wildlife population as a whole.
Shortly after this need, the Charles Darwin Foundation showed to the world the birth of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS). The CDRS is an institution that along with the Galapagos National Park, have established an alliance related to scientific research, as well as monitoring projects . The Galapagos National Park service(GNPS), which is the main government authority on the islands in regards to the execution of policies about ecological matters, manages 97% of the territory assigned by the Ecuadorian government as the nations´ first national park.
The Charles Darwin Foundation is located at the CDRS headquarters in the Island of Santa Cruz, the most populated island in the Galapagos archipelago. It has 2 satellite offices in the Island of Isabella and San Cristobal where visitors can also observed the breeding of babies Galapagos tortoises.
In the CDRS a team of local and foreign researchers work together in order to enhance the possibility of survival for these giant tortoises and their different sub-species that can be found on other islands.
The CDRS has a natural history interpretation center in the Island of Santa Cruz, where tourists and visitors can learn more about the development of the islands. Also, the CDRS offers random educational projects for the community, in order to propel the consciousness of the protection of the endemic species among locals who live on the archipelago.
The CDRS has a team of over a hundred scientists, educators, volunteers, research students, and support staff from all over the world that work on regular basis, supervising the islands conditions.
The CDRS, also give advices to Ecuadorian authorities on the subject of conservation and management of natural resources in the Galapagos Islands. Among other duties that are of relevant importance in the role of the CDRS, are the following:
1. To collaborate with Ecuadorian institutions on the implementation of programs involved in scientific investigation and education on the islands.
2. To contribute to the development of scientific and technical personnel from Ecuador who are specialized in natural sciences and natural resource management.
3. To compile the results of the scientific investigations and the other activities of the organization and to disseminate this information regionally, nationally, and internationally.
In 2002, the CDRS was awarded with the International Cosmos Prize, which encourages harmonious coexistence between nature and mankind. The International Cosmos Prize was established in 1993 as a remembrance of the EXPO 90 that took place in Osaka , Japan.
LatinTrails highly encourages our readers to get engage with the Charles Darwin Foundation in order to support its mission and tasks at the Galapagos Islands.
For further information and references about on how to contribute to the foundation, please visit :Darwin Foundation