Photos: Galápagos Islands—Paradise Under Pressure

Heather Morgan
for National Geographic News
March 20, 2003

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The Galápagos Islands—where Charles Darwin's theory of evolution took root—are facing increasing pressure from tourists and commercial fishing.

Darwin's great-great-grandson, Matthew Chapman, explored the archipelago off the coast of Ecuador to find out what might become of this remote sanctuary.

Traveling with 47 other passengers aboard a 210-foot (64-meter) cruise ship, Chapman discovered that much had changed since his famous ancestor plied the same waters 168 years earlier aboard the H.M.S. Beagle.

Chapman also found that much about the islands was unchanged since Charles Darwin's time, including the amazing diversity of fauna—such as the 11 subspecies of giant tortoise—that has managed to survive modern pressures.

In the April issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, Chapman looks at the steps the government of Ecuador has taken to protect the Galápagos and tries to answer the question: "Will it be enough?"

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