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news 100729 1 3 Galapagos Removed from World Heritage List (AC19)At the annual meeting of the UNESCO committee for World Heritage Sites, which was held this year in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, it was decided that Ecuador has improved the situation in the Galapagos Islands to such an extent that they need no longer be included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Galapagos Islands were added to the List of World Heritage in Danger during the 2007 meeting for three reasons:

  • Uncontrolled human population growth,
  • Unregulated tourism, and
  • Insufficient measures to stop invasive species from entering the islands.

For the past three years, the Ecuadorian government--working in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park Service and several other governmental and non-governmental environmental groups (including foreign NGOs such as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society), have been working hard to improve the situation in the archipelago.

The following are examples of these improvements:

  • Illegal immigrants have been deported, and immigration control has increased.
  • The tourist sector is better regulating the influx of a high number of tourists each year.
  • Several projects are underway to minimize the transportation of invasive species on cargo and tourist boats.
  • Sea Shepherd Galapagos has several running projects that contribute to a better-controlled environment, such as the Police Dog Project, Radio Communications Project, Automatic Identification System (AIS) Project, and more.

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Sea Shepherd will continue to work on these initiatives, as it is clear that despite improved measures, threats to the natural inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands remain. In a world were biodiversity is diminishing at an astounding rate, we must continue to focus our full attention on this unique and special place.

Sea Shepherd congratulates the Ecuadorian government for its improved protective measures that have led to the removal of the Galapagos Islands from the List of World Heritage in Danger. It is quite uncommon to be removed from that list in such a short period of time, and we commend Ecuador for understanding the urgency to preserve this World Heritage Site and acting on it.

Some caution is advisable though, as being removed from the list is not sufficient or permanent, and efforts to protect the Galapagos must not slow down. Tourism, population growth, introduced plant and animal species, as well as illegal fishing still present serious threats if not managed properly.

From its permanent office in Galapagos, Sea Shepherd will continue to act on behalf of the endemic species that populate the islands, with the goal of keeping these enchanted islands off the List of World Heritage in Danger for good. Galapagos is our line in the sand; we need your continued support to stop the destruction of our natural world from passing this threshold.

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En la reunion anual del Comite para Patrimonios mundiales de la UNESCO  que se celebro este ano en Brasilia, la capital de Brasil, se decidio que el Ecuador ha mejorado la situacion en las Islas Galapagos de manera que ya no necesitan estar inscritas en la Lista de Patrimonios Mundiales en Peligro.

Las Islas Galapagos fueron inscritas en la Lista de Patrimonios Mundiales en Peligro durante la reunion del Comite en el ano 2007, por tres razones:

  • Descontrolado crecimiento poblacional 
  • Turismo no regulado  
  • Insuficientes medidas para detener la introduccion de especies invasoras 

Durante los ultimos tres anos, el gobierno ecuatoriano,  en trabajo conjunto con el Servicio del Parque Nacional Galapagos y otros grupos ambientales gubernamentales y no gubernamentales (incluyendo organizaciones no gubernamentales como Sea Shepherd Conservation Society), han estado trabajando fuertemente para mejorar la situacion en el archipielago. Los siguientes son ejemplos de estas mejoras:

  • Inmigrantes ilegales han sido deportados, y control de migracion ha incrementado.
  • El sector turistico esta regulando de mejor manera la afluencia de un elevado numero de turistas cada ano.
  • Varios proyectos estan en marcha para reducir al minimo el transporte de especies invasoras en embarcaciones turisticas y de carga.

Sea Shepherd Galapagos esta trabajando en varios proyectos que contribuyen a un ambiente mejor controlado, como: Proyecto Unidad Canina de deteccion de trafico de vida silvestre, Proyecto Opciones para mejorar la Radio Comunicacion en Galapagos, Proyecto Sistema de Identificacion Automatica (AIS) para la Reserva Marina de Galapagos, entre otros.

Sea Shepherd continuara trabajando en estas iniciativas, ya que   a pesar de todas las medidas que han sido tomadas, las amenazas a las especies naturales de las islas Galapagos persisten. En este mundo donde la biodiversidad esta disminuyendo a un ritmo acelerado, debemos seguir centrando nuestra atencion en este lugar tan fragil, unico y especial.

Sea Shepherd felicita al gobierno ecuatoriano por haber mejorado las medidas de proteccion que han dado lugar a la salida de las islas Galapagos de la Lista de Patrimonios Mundiales en Peligro.

Es poco comun salir de esta lista en un periodo tan corto de tiempo,  por lo que felicitamos a Ecuador por entender la urgencia de preservar este Patrimonio Natural de la Humanidad y por actuar al respecto.

Una nota de precaucion es sugerida, ya que el retiro de la Lista de Patrimonios en peligro no es suficiente ni tampoco permanente, por lo que los esfuerzos para proteger las islas Galapagos no deben disminuir.  El turismo, el crecimiento demografico, la introduccion de especies animales, asi como la pesca ilegal, todavia plantean graves amenazas, si no son manejadas correctamente.

Desde su oficina permanente en Galapagos, Sea Shepherd continuara actuando en nombre de las especies endemicas que pueblan las islas, con el objetivo de mantener estas islas encantadas fuera de la Lista de Patrimonio Mundial en Peligro para siempre.

Galapagos es nuestra ? linea en la arena ? entre la  proteccion y la destruccion. Necesitamos su continuo apoyo para detener la destruccion de nuestro mundo natural.  

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