CAN THE GALAPAGOS SURVIVE?

GREED, OVERPOPULATION AND POLITICAL INTRIGUE ARE THREATENING TO DESTROY THE REMARKABLE ECOSYSTEM THAT INSPIRED DARWIN'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION

TOMAS DE BERLANGA, BISHOP OF Panama, named them Las Encantadas--the Enchanted Isles--in 1535, and more than 4 1/2 centuries later, it's hard to argue with his view of the Galapagos archipelago. Even today, the cluster of islands, a province of Ecuador that lies some 600 miles off the South American coast, seems idyllic: the giant tortoises known as galapagos, which gave the islands their name, still amble across the scrubby landscape, sea-lion pups and Galapagos penguins gaze unafraid at scuba divers, marine iguanas crawl over volcanic rocks along the shore, and strolling tourists have to detour around blue-footed boobies (a type...

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