Galapagos Island Diversity

Galapagos Island Diversity
There are many different kinds of life forms that makeup the Galapagos Islands spread throughout its sixteen main islands and six smaller islands. The Galapagos Islands have many different life forms that make up three different categories which include; birds, marine life, and land dwellers. ?In 1987 unesco recognized the islands as a world heritage site, and in 1985 a biosphere reserve. This was later extended in December 2001 to include the marine reserve?. (Wikipedia, 2007) Some of the more rare land dwellers include giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and lava lizards. The Galapagos Islands were in fact named after the giant tortoises that were on the island.
These giant tortoises can survive a long time without any food or water. The giant tortoises can survive on any pert of the islands that make up the Galapagos Island but do better when in the vegetated parts of the island. At one point there were around fourteen or fifteen different types of these giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands but today there is more like ten. Another type of species found on the Galapagos Islands is the land iguana. When Charles Darwin came to the Galapagos Islands there were so many that it was hard for Darwin and his colleagues to find an area to pitch a tent. Now these land iguanas only remain left on three of the Islands. These land iguanas are herbivores and eat berries and leafs. Another rare type of land species found in the Galapagos Islands is the lava lizard. These lava lizards are very active during the day and are always catching insects. There are also known for spending a large portion of their day just sitting on rocks. The lava lizards live on the smaller islands and their population is diminishing due to black rats and feral cats. Now only one species of lava lizards can be found on any one island at a time. The Galapagos Islands is also home to many marine life species which include fur seals, California Sea Lions, and rays. The fur Seals can only be found in the archipelago and are named after their distinct thick fur. Fur seals like to live in smaller more secluded groups on rocky shores. The California Sea Lions are great swimmers but are known for their clumsiness on land. Sea Lions are known as clowns of the Galapagos Islands because of the tricks they play on humans and land iguanas. They will swirl water into snorkeler?s faces and also nibble on their flippers. They will also pull land iguanas into the sea and watch them go back to land only to pull them back in the sea. There are many types of rays found in throughout the Galapagos Islands including the Manta Ray and spotted eagle ray. Almost all of these rays are harmless and the only one that can do damage is the sting ray which can provide a very painful wound. There are also some rare birds that make up the Galapagos Islands which include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Flamingo, and Galapagos Penguin. The Galapagos Hawk is known for nor fearing the humans and dominating the Galapagos Islands. It will prey on lava lizards, snakes, insects, and various eggs. The Galapagos Penguin is the only type of penguin that can live on the equator because of the cool temperatures that are provided by the cool waters. Smaller population of these penguins live through the different islands but the main population resides on the Fernandina Island. These flamingos reside in salt water lagoons hidden in the lave fields. They lay their eggs in muddy water and have a unique filtering system that can easily separate fish from water and mud.
The biological interrelations among the life forms in the Galapagos Islands are very steady and the interrelations help out the species tremendously. Each of the different species lives off of other species whether they know it or not. They all work together and help each other in their own way. Also each type of species lives in a different part of the Galapagos Islands which spreads all the species out. Each species uses a different part of the Galapagos Islands for its survival. An example would be the food chain where the Galapagos Hawk preys on the lava lizard. The interrelations between the life forms on the Galapagos Islands develop and grow because of the species around them. For example the giant tortoises that reside on the Galapagos Islands eat berries off of a specific tree, that tree then evolved to have a trunk like structure so the tortoise can no longer reach its berries.
There are many human intrusions that threaten the Galapagos Islands. Some of these intrusions include migration, tourism, and over fishing or fishing in non-designated areas. Many people are migrating to the Galapagos Islands looking for jobs and over the last few years the overall population has gone up drastically. The more people that come over the more damage that can and is being done to the Galapagos Island. Some damages that all these people bring are more trash, and more waste, along with the damage to the environment. Tourism is also a big part of human intrusions. Each year thousands of people come from all over the world to visit the Galapagos Islands. This brings a bunch of unnecessary trash to the islands each year. Over fishing or fishing in non designated areas is also a huge problem in the Galapagos Islands. This illegal fishing endangers many types of fish species that would not be endangered if it were not for the illegal fishing. The illegal fishing is hurting local communities that depend on fishing.
All these human intrusions do damage each year to the islands and certain things are being done to help preserve the Galapagos Islands. They are making more safeguards to help protect the islands. One of the safeguards is the Galapagos special law, which simply means that the number of visitors each year is controlled as well as the number of people who live there. They are now allowing only a certain number of people to the islands each year now. The Galapagos energy blueprint is another way to help out the island. This is a work in progress that will help sustain energy in the future. Each use of energy will be helped and upgraded.
Each day more and more efforts are coming forward to help further the preservation. One in progress is only allowing a certain number of cargo ships in the surround Galapagos Islands oceans. Money is being raised to help further this effort. Each year money is being raised to help further the preservation of the Galapagos Islands.
Individuals can do their own part to help preserve the diversity in the Galapagos Islands. They can and need to learn more about the dangers that they can bring to the island accidentally; learn what not to bring to the islands. Also each individual need to learn when to fish and where to fish so that they do not affect the local communities.
There are a few additional measures to ensure the preservation of the Galapagos Islands that is would propose. The first is to have some areas of the island blocked off so that humans can not have any contact with the wildlife. The most endangered and most harmed area of the island need to be protected and not allow any human contact for a few years till the area gets stronger. I would also add harsher penalties to the island that would teach the people if the disobey the laws they will get in severe trouble. So now that it is not just a warning or fine but jail time; this is the only way that people will learn that there will be severe consequences for destroying the local area.
If intrusion goes unchecked then certain species will be lost. The diversity of animals is large in the Galapagos Islands but if these intrusions do not stop; overtime species will become extinct. There are already been numerous depletion rates for species over the last hundred years. The Galapagos Islands have already lost several species and if these intrusions go unchecked then more species will go extinct. Right now many species are endangered and on the verge of going extinct and if these intrusions keep up the next few decades will bring extinction for many of the Galapagos Islands species.

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