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Crowdfunders rescue land from developers on the Galapagos islands

An eco-warrior group went on a mission to snatch land from developers - leading to the first privately-owned nature reserve on the Galapagos archipelago

04 November 2018 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith

The Galapagos islands are all set to get their first privately-owned nature reserve, after a crowdfunding campaign raised $1.75 million to save the land from developers.
About 965km from continental Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago is made up of 127 islands, islets and rocks, four of which are inhabited. Its remoteness and geographic isolation mean it has wildlife and landscapes found nowhere else on Earth.
In 1959, Ecuador passed a law designating all the islands a national park - except for those areas owned by existing colonists. As a result, 97% of the land is protected.
But a 230ha piece of land in the highlands of San Cristobal island - where Charles Darwin first went ashore in 1835 - has been up for sale, and being eyed by developers keen to build hotels for the 245,000 annual tourists, according to The Telegraph.
San Cristobal, the fifth-largest island, is home to the capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
The establishment of the reserve is being led by the Rainforest Trust, which organised the fundraising. It says: "Between pressures from development and invasive species, the urgency to protect this unique habitat is very real." It plans to "remove non-native plants and allow native species and wildlife to flourish. " See rainforesttrust.org...

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