World Heritage Site: Galápagos Islands

Thousands of Sharks Found on Boat in Huge Illegal Haul loading...
Thousands of Sharks Found on Boat in Huge Illegal Haul
The confiscation of the Chinese ship and arrest of its 20 crew in the Galápagos show just how hard it is to protect marine sanctuaries.
A Warming Planet Jolts the Iconic Creatures of the Galápagos loading...
A Warming Planet Jolts the Iconic Creatures of the Galápagos
Species that inspired Darwin’s theory of natural selection are facing new challenges to adapt.
Why Adult Penguins Mooch Off Their Parents loading...
Why Adult Penguins Mooch Off Their Parents
Galápagos penguins are one of only two penguin species that hang out near their childhood home—for a reason, a new study says.
New Galápagos Sanctuary Has World’s Highest Abundance of Sharks loading...
New Galápagos Sanctuary Has World’s Highest Abundance of Sharks
An abundance of marine wildlife receives protection from fishing by the government of Ecuador.
Cave-Dwelling Giant Tortoises Are a Big Surprise loading...
Cave-Dwelling Giant Tortoises Are a Big Surprise
To get out of the midday sun, reptiles on the Indian Ocean's Aldabra Atoll have a never-before-seen strategy for keeping cool.
About World Heritage Site: Galápagos Islands

Site: Galápagos Islands

Location: Ecuador

Year Designated: 1978

Category: Natural

Reason: This “living laboratory” of evolution helped to inspire Charles Darwin 175 years ago and continues to offer a unique opportunity to explore a pristine natural ecosystem. 

The Galápagos Islands are located 620 miles (1,000 kilometres) from the South American mainland but a world apart from anywhere else on Earth. The archipelago and its surrounding waters, located where three ocean currents converge, are famed for the unique animal species that piqued the interest of Charles Darwin in 1835. Decades later Darwin drew on his experiences here when penning his landmark theory of evolution by natural selection.

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