A Trip to the Galapagos Islands:Animals in the News
It's time for a look at the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless species that share our planet. Today's photos include Vladimir Putin with reindeer, a hang gliding service dog, a golden eagle attacking a deer, and a record-setting alligator in Mississippi. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series onanimals in the news. [40 photos]
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A female Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) -- one of a group of geckos native to Madagascar and part of the private collection of Irondequoit, New York resident and Reef Shoppe owner Thomas Wood -- pictured in Rochester, New York, on August 1, 2013. The geckos are among some of the species studied by Daniel Scantlebury, a Ph.D. student in biology at University of Rochester, for a recent paper describing slowdown in the rate at which species form on Madagascar. (Reuters/J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin poses for a picture beside reindeer in the Siberian Federal District, on July 20, 2013.(Reuters/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti) #
A Yellow Scorpion eats his prey at night, seen glowing under a black light, near Sde Boker in the Negev Desert, Israel, on August 5, 2013. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #
Wild ponies are herded into the Assateague Channel during a rain storm for their annual swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague, on July 24, 2013 in Chincoteague, Virginia. Every year the wild ponies are rounded up on the national wildlife refuge to be auctioned off by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #
A leopard skin burns as Indian officials and activists burn wildlife contraband including tiger and leopard skins, and bones as part of a campaign to save the tiger in Mumbai, India, on July 30, 2013. Despite conservation efforts, tiger numbers in India have declined due to rampant poaching of the cats for their valuable pelts and body parts that are highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #
A Humpback whale breaches in the Pacific Ocean in the Uramba Bahia Malaga natural park in Colombia, on July 16, 2013.(Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images) #
A horse and rider perform during a "sneak peek" performance of Cavalia's show "Odysseo" in Somerville, Massachusetts, on August 6, 2013. The show, which features 63 horses and 47 human artists, acrobats, riders and performers, opened its Boston-area performances on August 7. (Reuters/Brian Snyder) #
Dan McManus and his service dog Shadow hang glide together outside Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 22, 2013. McManus suffers from anxiety and Shadow's presence and companionship help him to manage the symptoms. The two have been flying together for about nine years with a specially made harness for Shadow. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
A bumblebee flies next to a sunflower on September 4, 2013, in Godewaersvelde, France. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images) #
In this photo taken from a remote camera at the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve in the Primorye region of Russia's Far East, a golden eagle is caught attacking a deer. Remote cameras set up to track Siberian tigers in Russia caught the golden eagle attack on a sika deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird dug its talons into the distressed animal's back.(AP Photo/The Zoological Society of London) #
Racehorses work on Warren Hill gallops in Newmarket, England, on September 24, 2013. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) #
A Komondor, a traditional Hungarian guard dog, shakes its long fur in Bodony, Hungary, on September 3, 2013. Komondors, a traditional Hungarian breed, have a fur coat that weighs 30 kg (60 pounds). (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh) #
A rabbit hops to avoid a five-month-old leopard cub during a test of the cub's wild natural instincts at a wildlife park in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, on September 10, 2013. The test is part of the park's body examination procedure on recently born tigers, lions and leopards, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Asian elephant calf Zhuangzhuang which was stamped on and injured by his mother after his birth, cries in a zoo in Rongcheng, Shandong province, China, on August 31, 2013. Zoo breeders have been taking care of the calf after it was born on August 30 and nearly stamped to death by his mother, Asian elephant Nannan, local media reported. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Snails crawl on the face of a woman during a demonstration of a new beauty treatment at Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo in central Tokyo, on July 17, 2013. The salon offers the 10,500 yen ($110) five-minute session with the snails as an optional add-on for customers who apply for a "Celeb Escargot Course", an hour-long treatment routine of massages and facials based on products made from snail slime that costs 24,150 yen. According to a beautician at the salon, the snail slime is believed to make one's skin supple as well as remove dry and scaly patches. (Reuters/Issei Kato) #
A Chiffchaff is recorded at a ringing hut on a private reserve in East Sussex in Rye, United Kingdom, on August 21, 2013. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is currently in the process of recording migrating hirnundines and other birds at the reserve. The reserve is close to the East Sussex coast, and forms an ideal habitat for many resident and migratory birds, comprising of low lying reedbeds and marshy peat bog. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #
A warbler is weighed at a ringing hut on a private reserve in East Sussex in Rye, United Kingdom, on August 21, 2013. The site is one of the worlds largest ringing stations, and with the help of BTO staff, trained ringers and volunteers as many as 1,000 hirundines can be ringed in one evening at this time of year. The Information gathered including age, weight and sex allows the BTO to monitor long-term population and global migration patterns which is important for conservation.(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #
Irwin Kangaroo looks up at Christie Carr at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, where they now live, in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, on August 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) #
A Pug named Lotte races during a pug owners meeting in Berlin, Germany, on August 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer) #
A 40g Waxy Monkey Frog is weighed at the London Zoo, on August 21, 2013 in London, England. The height and mass of every animal in the zoo, of which there are over 16,000, needs to be recorded. The measurements are collated in the Zoological Information Management System, from which zoologists can use the data to compare information on thousands of endangered species. (Bethany Clarke/Getty Images) #
A participant falls into water after ripping the neck and head off a dead goose which was tied to a cable and raised and lowered into the water at the harbor of the northern Spanish Basque village of Lekeitio on September 5, 2013, during the celebration of "Antzar Eguna" (Day of the Geese). Contestants have to hold onto the goose for as long as possible, trying to break its neck, while being dunked in the sea. In former times the geese used to be alive. (Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images) #
A 2-month-old snow leopard cub born at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, on June 13 is seen in an off-exhibit den where he spending time with his mother, Sarani, on August 18, 2013. Until the cub is 3 months old, he will remain there bonding with his mom before making his public debut in mid-September. (AP Photo/Chicago Zoological Society, Jim Schulz) #
Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers, veterinarians and Lewa staff remove the horn of a wild male black rhino named Sero at Lewa Wildlife conservancy on August 26, 2013. Eleven of Lewa's total 73 endangered black rhinos are being relocated to neighboring Borana conservancy to afford them more space. Borana currently has no rhino population and is hoping to help increase their numbers. The horn of each relocated rhino is cut and a tracking device is fitted to monitor its movements and to help discourage poaching. Lewa has suffered severe poaching in the past. Illegally poached rhino horn is sold for large sums as an ingredient in some traditional Chinese medicine. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Cork-bark leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus pietschmanni), pictured in Rochester, New York, on August 1, 2013. The geckos are among some of the species studied by Daniel Scantlebury, a Ph.D. student in biology at University of Rochester, for a recent paper describing slowdown in the rate at which species form on Madagascar. (Reuters/J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester) #
A municipality worker from a dog shelter is bitten by an adopted stray dog while carrying it to its new owner in Bucharest, on September 13, 2013. A campaign to cull tens of thousands of stray dogs from Bucharest's streets after a 4-year-old boy was mauled to death has been held up by an appeal to Romania's highest court. The boy's death triggered street protests demanding action against the capital's more than 60,000 strays, who bite dozens of people every day and are a deterrent for foreign tourists. Last week, parliament passed a law allowing dogs caught in public spaces to be put down if they are not claimed or adopted within two weeks. But the Constitutional Court received a challenge filed by 30 lawmakers from all parties. (Reuters/Bogdan Cristel) #
A worker is covered by pieces of fur as he trims raccoon dog fur outside a store at a fur market in Chongfu township, Zhejiang province, China, on September 13, 2013. The 100-square-kilometer Chongfu township, which houses over 100,000 residents, is known as the biggest fur designing, researching, producing and exporting center in China. The township is the home of 1,469 fur companies, according to its government website. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Lobsterman Steve Train tosses a lobster back into the sea while hauling traps in his boat "Wild Irish Rose" in the waters off Cape Elizabeth, Maine, on August 21, 2013. Lobster populations in Maine are booming like never before. The number of lobster processing plants in the state has more than tripled, from 5 in 2010 to 16 last year. (Reuters/Brian Snyder) #
Waders flock together seeking new feeding grounds during the incoming tide at the RSPB's Snettisham Nature reserve in Snettisham, England, on September 09, 2013. The reserve lies on the edge of 'The Wash', one of the most important bird estuaries in the UK, supporting over 300,000 birds. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #
Children watch a monkey wearing a mask perform in the Muara Baru slum area which sits in a flood plain near Jakarta's biggest dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 11, 2013. (Ed Wray/Getty Images) #
Dustin Bockman lies on top of his record-setting alligator, weighing 727 pounds (330 kg) and measuring 13 feet (3.96 m), captured in Vicksburg, Mississippi in this picture provided by Ryan Bockman on September 1, 2013. (Reuters/Ryan Bockman) #
A wolf is pictured at the Fauna films park in Villemer, outside of Paris, on September 18, 2013. With few hectares, Fauna Films, founded by Pierre Cadeac, hosts about 200 species of animals trained for films and advertising campaigns.(Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images) #
Luis Saez rides Falling Sky during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, on May 4, 2013, in Louisville, Kentucky.(AP Photo/James Crisp) #
An activist wearing a gas mask stands next to a dead dog as he looks for dead bodies to collect samples to check for chemical weapon use, in Zamalka area, where activists say chemical weapons were used by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria, on August 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bassam Khabieh) #
A pelican in Planckendael's zoo near Mechelen, Belgium, on August 20, 2013. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir) #
Devotees compete to retrieve a goat during the Deopokhari festival in Khokana, Nepal, on August 23, 2013. During the annual festival, a live goat is thrown into a pond and the team of devotees that retrieves the animal first wins.(Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar) #
Prezious Perez, 15, visually impaired, hugs one of the horses from Cavalia's Odysseo in Somerville, Massachusetts, on September 11, 2013, during a "Blind Touch Tour" arranged by the show with the Carroll Center for the Blind. (Reuters/Brian Snyder) #
A man rescues his dog from flood waters following Hurricane Manuel in Navolato, Sinaloa State, Mexico, on September 20, 2013.(Fernando Brito/AFP/Getty Images) #
The remains of a camel, covered by sand, near the Ogrein Railway Station in the Red Sea State of Sudan, on August 1, 2013.(Reuters/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) #
Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas throws down a calf in the tie-down roping event during the 101st Calgary Stampede rodeo in Calgary, Alberta, on July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Todd Korol) #
A horse is tied as part of its training to be a racing horse in an area of grasslands located 70km (43 miles) from the Mongolian capital city of Ulan Bator, on June 26, 2013. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
A Trip to the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands wildlife devastated by ocean warming, warn conservationists
The Galapagos penguin is within a 'hairsbreadth' of extinction, according to a new study
Ocean warming and human activity have devastated the coastal wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, say scientists. Several species of marine plants and animals are believed to have become extinct and many others are seriously threatened, a new report reveals.
Researchers blame the impact of rising ocean temperatures coupled with fishing and tourism. Once abundant coral reefs and kelp beds had been wiped out in just a few decades, said the scientists from US-based Conservation International. Species that were previously plentiful such as the Galapagos black-spotted damselfish, the 24-rayed sunstar and the Galapagos stringweed were now thought to have vanished. Dozens of others, including the Galapagos penguin, were within 'a hairsbreadth of annihilation'. Based on criteria laid down by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List, two species were 'probably' extinct, another seven 'possibly' extinct, and a further 36 'vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered'. Over-fishing had led to an expansion of sea urchin populations, which in turn had upset the delicate web of marine life in the islands, said the scientists. The researchers warned the Galapagos was a 'canary in a coalmine' indicating what the world could expect from global warming. Co-author Scott Henderson, Conservation International's regional marine conservation director in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, said: 'If marine species are going extinct in one of the most famous and most cherished world heritage sites, what is happening in the rest of the world that has been so little studied? 'It is time we recognize that the ocean has limits just as the rain forests of the Amazon, the rivers of Europe, the ice sheets of the Arctic and the grasslands of the great plains. 'For seas to thrive we need increased efforts to slow climate change, more, bigger and better managed marine protected areas (MPAs) and better managed fishing activities outside MPAs.'
Ruth Padel, Charles Darwin's great granddaughter, went to see the giant tortoises of the Galapagos islands
Sitting in a dinghy, six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador, on a wildlife holiday, I found myself questioning the wisdom of our long-dreamed-of family trip. We were there to see the giant tortoises of the Galapagos islands. At the helm of the dinghy were my eighty-five-year-old mother and her cousin Sophie, the last surviving great-granddaughters of Charles Darwin. They had both grown up in his shadow. My mother's mother Nora Barlow, Darwin's granddaughter, edited his Journal of the Voyage of the Beagle and his Autobiography. My mother had herself studied botany and was a devoted student of natural history. All her life she had wanted to see giant tortoises wild in the Galapagos. Her cousin Sophie was an artist and wanted to draw them. So of course we had to see the Galapagos. And handily, my daughter was in South America already, on her gap year. So I and two of my brothers planned the flights, got the injections, bought the sun-hats and anti-bug sprays. What we hadn't bargained for was rough seas around the islands. To reach each island, you have to slide from a boat moored off shore into a rocking dinghy. Sometimes you stagger through surf onto rocks slippery with sea lion droppings. None of this is easy on eighty-five-year-old arthritic knees. When Darwin visited in 1835 he was a young man of twenty-six, full of adventurous energy and very different from the bearded figure on the ten pound note. Galápago is an old Spanish word for tortoise, the Galapagos Islands were named after the giant tortoises early Spanish sailors saw there. Darwin saw them too, hundreds of them. He described them 'travelling eagerly to find fresh springs, their necks outstretched'. He even tried riding them. 'I found it hard to balance,' he confessed. The Galapagos islands are a kind of Eden because their animals evolved without human beings and so they are unafraid of man. No instinct tells them we are dangerous. Darwin was struck by this and so were we, on the first island we came to.
We scrambled from our dinghy onto rocks of black lava and strolled past colonies of sea-lions. They ignored us completely. Young sea lions played in the water beside us. We stepped over marine iguanas, black lizards with pea-green grins. Young sea-lions teased the iguanas, catching them by the tail, flipping them into the air, but never killed them. There are no predators except a small hawk.
Charles Darwin at 72, in 1881 (l) and his great-great-granddaughter Ruth (r)
Not on land. The sea is another matter.
'Shark!' shouted my mother, pointing to a huge fin by the rock pools where tiny seal pups waited for their mums to return from catching food.
A bull sea-lion saw it too. He barked and the colony erupted in alarm as young males dived off the rocks and into the water to harass the shark. It turned on them in flash, thrashing though the water in search of a meal. But bull sea lions are fierce and more than capable of seeing off a shark.
Swimming in such waters is nerve-wracking, but we couldn't come all the way to the Galapagos and not explore. While my mother and Sophie watched from the boat, the rest of us donned masks and snorkels and launched ourselves off the side of the dinghy.
Sea-lions peered through our masks, blew bubbles in our faces, tugged at the straps. They were adorable, but this peace was shattered when our guide yelled: 'Get in quick! Killer whales!'
'The Vice Governor said he knew which island a tortoise he had eaten had come from because the shapes of the shell were different. The comment led Darwin towards his first glimmer of understanding of the way species evolve in different environments'
Killer whales, orcas, are the top predators of the ocean. They hunt in schools and can kill creatures much larger than humans, even great white sharks. We were in a dinghy with no life-jackets, a thin inch of rubber between us and them.
The orcas were hunting the sea-lions which were diving under our dinghy. They were an awe-inspiring sight - twenty-foot long, with backs of shining black and white muscle so close we could have touched them.
Three times they circled us and dived beneath the dinghy. Then one orca bumped us and we felt the dinghy rock in the water. It re-surfaced and looked back.
We are easier meat than the sea lions, I thought. Maybe we wouldn't fulfil our dream of seeing Darwin's giant tortoises after all. My mother, watching anxiously from the boat, later told us that her thoughts were full of stories of orcas overturning ships and wondering which of us they would eat first.
But the waters of the Galapagos are unpredictable and as suddenly as they came, the orcas were gone and we were able to return to the boat. Rather shaken, it is true, but all the more determined to meet the islands' most famous inhabitants.
Of all Galapagos wildlife, the giant tortoises have been most damaged by human beings. They were unafraid, slow, easily caught - and had so much meat on them.
Ruth eventually saw, like an armoured car, the same immense domed shapes which Darwin saw - indeed, rode upon - in 1835
In the nineteenth century, pirates and whalers used to snatch two hundred at a time. They stacked them in the holds of their ships, where they could survive without food or drink for a year, providing the sailors a lasting source of sustenance. Thirsty sailors drank the fluid around their hearts. They even drank from their bladders.
The tortoises began dying out. Especially in the twentieth century when settlers came, bringing cats, dogs, pigs and goats. The pigs ate the tortoises' eggs. The goats escaped, bred in the wild and ate the vegetation the tortoises needed for food.
Darwin came to the Galapagos in September 1835 after over four years on HMS Beagle.
He had set off from Britain December 1831 and expected the voyage to be a kind of extended gap year. He was twenty-two, his father didn't really want him to go and he expected to become a parson when he returned, since he had studied Divinity at university.
But he would be doing what he loved, natural history, helping on a two-year voyage to map the coastline of South America and study the geology.
But he could have had no idea these last scattered isles on the homeward run would provide the key to the mystery of evolution.
Landing on the Galapagos in 1835, Darwin saw hundreds of tortoises. The islands' few human inhabitants often ate them. The meat was said to be tastier and more succulent than chicken.
The Vice Governor said he always knew which island a tortoise he had eaten had come from because the shapes of the shell were different. At the time, Darwin paid this casual remark little attention.
Back in Britain, however, studying his notes, the Vice-Governor's comment led towards his first glimmer of understanding of the way species might evolve differently in different environments.
The varying shapes of the tortoise shells on the islands helped him understand how new species came into existence: exactly what he would explain twenty years later, in On the Origin of Species.
Today, however, half of the fifteen species of tortoise which once lived on the Galapagos islands, are now extinct. Among them is the Pinta Island tortoise, whose last and most famous representative was Lonesome George.
Lonesome George was a saddleback tortoise, first spotted in 1971. Until his death from old age in 2012, he was the rarest animal in the world because he was the last example of his species.
The Galapagos Islands were named after the giant tortoises early Spanish sailors saw there
They named him after George Gobel, one of the biggest comedy stars on American TV in the 1950s whose nickname was “Lonesome George.”
Despite their best efforts, the conservationists never persuaded George to breed, but he become an icon of the conservation cause. The Government of Ecuador removed the destructive goats and mounted on the islands one of the most successful breed-and-release programmes in the world.
Today, conservationists collect the tortoise eggs which are incubated and hatched in breeding centres across different islands. The young are looked after through their vulnerable early years, then released back to the wild. And with no goats to eat the vegetation, the tortoises are thriving.
And that was how my mum, at eighty-five, realized a lifelong ambition.
There were three generations of us. Six Darwin descendants in all, walking up a mountain on Isabella Island, where people said tortoises had last been seen.
On the shoulder of the mountain, my mother and Sophie leaned breathlessly on their walking sticks. Where were the tortoises?
The sun blazed in jewel-blue sky. Then we saw the long grass beside us tossing and waving. Something large and wide and dark was travelling towards us, hidden by the high grass.
And there we saw, like an armoured car, the same immense domed shapes which Darwin saw - indeed, rode upon - in 1835. First one, then two. Wisps of grass hung out of leathery mouths.
They gazed at us gently and thoughtfully. We met dark eyes, tilted in scaly faces. Their pupils were very black. It was like coming across a couple of dinosaurs while strolling in the park.
What on earth were they thinking? They seemed unafraid, quite unconcerned. My mother drew in her breath. It was a sacred moment. We stared and they stared back. I have no idea how long we stayed, species to species, gazing into each other's eyes.
Then they walked calmly away. For my awe-struck mother it had been worth the 85-year wait to see the magnificent creatures that had so captured her great-grandfather's imagination.
A caricature of a young Charles Darwin riding a giant beetle drawn by fellow beetle collector Albert Way in 1832
Marine iguanas on the Galapagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin develop his theory of evolution. Now many of the species on the islands are under threat
The research is reported today in the journal Global Change Biology. A diverse and unique set of ecosystems exist in the Galapagos thanks to the convergence of several major ocean currents on the archipelago.
El Nino events in the eastern Pacific - episodes of local ocean warming - possibly aggravated by global climate change and combined with the effects of human activity had impacted heavily on the region, said the researchers.
During El Nino years ocean temperatures throughout the Galapagos Marine Reserve rise a few degrees in line with predicted increases from climate change.
Professor Les Kaufmann, from the University of Boston in the US, said: 'The Galapagos, the Rosetta Stone of evolution, is now teaching us the far-reaching impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems.
'Though too late to stop, we now know that the impacts of climate change can be softened by cutting back on fishing.
'The wildlife we eat today was part of the inner workings of an ecosystem which was under stress from global climate change and when these ecosystems are damaged, species and livelihoods can vanish in a heartbeat.'
Google Maps' Street View team recently traveled to several locations in the Galapagos Islands, snapping panoramic views as they went. Using backpack-mounted cameras and underwater gear, they documented the unique diversity of the archipelago that helped inspire Darwin's theory of evolution. The government of Ecuador established the Galapagos National Park in 1959, setting aside 97% of the islands' land area for preservation. Collected here are images from Google's team as well as from other photographers, taking you on a virtual visit to these amazing islands.
An aerial view of Sombrero Chino Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, on January 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) #
A giant tortoise crosses on a road on Santa Cruz island in Galapagos National Park, on August 23, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Marine iguanas in the Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island, on September 15, 2008. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja) #
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation crosses a rocky lava field to reach a land iguana restoration area in Bahia Cartago, Isabela Island in the Galapagos, in May of 2013. Bahia Cartago is a protected area not accessible to tourists but the Street View Trekker was invited to collect imagery there. (AP Photo/Google) #
A marine iguana crawls along the beach on Rabida Island, Galapagos Islands, on January 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) #
A diver swims alongside a whale shark in the Galapagos Islands. Scientists from the Galapagos National Park, the University of California, Davis and the Charles Darwin Foundation, have launched an investigation to unravel the mysteries of the whale shark, a species believed to be present in the oceans for at least 60 million years. The first stage of the study involved placing transmitters on the sharks. (AP Photo/The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador) #
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of a lava tube on Isabela Island, where he was collecting imagery on the Galapagos. (AP Photo/Google) #
In June of 2009, the Cerro Azul volcano on Isabela Island was in an active phase, spewing molten lava into the air, spilling it across its flanks, and widening existing lava flows. (Reuters/Parque Nacional Galapagos) #
An aerial view of Bainbridge Islands, Galapagos Islands, on January 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) #
A Frigatebird in the Galapagos islands, photographed on April 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Kim Gamel) #
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation crosses a field of ferns to reach some naturally occurring sulfur mines on the top of Sierra Negra, an active volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos. (AP Photo/Google) #
A hammerhead shark swims close to Wolf Island in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, on August 19, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
An iguana sunbathes in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, on May 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) #
A Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) swims underwater near San Cristobal Island, on September 1, 2009.(Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP/Getty Images) #
The Galapaguera, a giant tortoise breeding center, helps restore the population of the island tortoises, seriously threatened by invasive species, on San Cristobal Island. See it mapped.