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Santa Cruz-Galapagos | Ecuador

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Darwin and Santa Cruz share many similarities. For example, both have to balance fragile ecosystems against tourism interests and wildlife management due to introduced species.

Signing on 29 March 2010

Background

On 10 July 2009, Council wrote to the Mayor of the Gobierno Municipal de Santa Cruz in Galapagos - Republic of Ecuador inviting them to discuss the concept of a friendship agreement with Darwin City Council. 

Darwin and Santa Cruz share many similarities. For example, both have to balance fragile ecosystems against tourism interests and wildlife management due to introduced species.

Some examples of the similarities between Darwin and Santacruz are:

  • Both cities are surrounding by incredible natural landscapes and unique wildlife the tourism industry is a very important component of the economy of both cities
  • both are Learning Cities of the Charles Darwin Foundation and Charles Darwin University - School for Environmental Research, supporting a focus on environmental issues and climate change and; 
  • in 1835 the HMS Beagle visited Galapagos as part of a five-year voyage to make navigational charts for the Royal Navy. Onboard was a young, unknown naturalist named Charles Darwin. The HMS Beagle also surveyed the coasts of Northern Australia in 1839, even though Charles Darwin was no longer part of the crew, the port of Darwin was named in his honour by John Lort Stokes and John Clements Wickham who had traveled alongside Charles Darwin on previous Voyages of Exploration.

City Profile

The Galapagos Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km from the South American coast and straddling the Equator. There are 13 large islands, 6 smaller ones and 107 islets and rocks, with a total land area of about 8,000 square kilometres. The islands are volcanic in origin and several volcanoes in the west of the archipelago are still very active. Galapagos is a province of the Republic of Ecuador and five of the islands are inhabited, with a total population of around 25,000 people. The capital is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, although the largest town is Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz.

Conservation Efforts

In 1959, Ecuador designated 97% of the land area of Galapagos as a National Park, and then in 1986 the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve was established, protecting the waters around the archipelago. The Galapagos Marine Reserve was created in 1998, by the Special Law for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Galapagos Province. The islands have been recognised internationally as a Man and Biosphere Reserve and as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In December 2001, the Marine Reserve was also designated a World Heritage Site. In 2007 UNESCO declared the islands a World Heritage Site in Danger due to the rapid growth in visitor numbers and population and in unregulated development over the last 15 years.

 

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