The Charles Darwin Research Station is the visible representative of The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) on the Galapagos Islands. It is located on Santa Cruz Island and has been actively working at conservation since 1964.
Around 50 years ago when the CDF and the Galapagos National Park (GNP) were taking shape, the Galapagos Islands were in danger. There had been centuries of destructive practices being carried out by scientists and travelers. Visitors of all kinds were taking animal and plant life home as souvenirs or to be placed in museums and zoos.
Invasive plant and animal species were also being introduced by people visiting the islands. The Galapagos ecosystem was taking a huge blow. During the first half of the 20th century Galapagos fur seals and giant tortoises were in real danger of extinction.
Thanks to the efforts of the CDF and GNP the Galapagos environment is in better shape now. Animals like the giant tortoise and land iguana have been brought back from the brink of extinction on some Islands. And on other Islands where they had disappeared, they have been reintroduced and are breeding successfully in their natural habitat once again.
Steps have also been taken to rid the Islands of invasive plant and animal species. This has met with great success and the ecosystem is bouncing back and sustaining native animal species.
The CDF has also worked at educating people about how special the Galapagos Islands are, and why they need to be protected. The success of these efforts is reflected in the world wide perception of these amazing islands.
When you hear “The Galapagos Islands” what comes to your mind?
We really enjoyed visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center while we were staying on Santa Cruz. We even got to see baby giant tortoises! It is sad to think of the state the Galapagos might be in today if the CDF didn’t step up and start to make a difference.