German Galapagos iguana thief caught

This video is called Iguanas of the volcanic Galapagos islands – BBC wildlife.

From AFP news agency:

German arrested for stealing iguanas from Galapagos

July 10, 2012, 1:46 pm

QUITO – A German tourist has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle four endangered iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands, according to the national park.

The Galapagos National Park said its security guards had intercepted the man on Monday at the airport on the archipelago after he was seen carrying a suspicious package, which was found to contain four lizards wrapped in canvas.

The reptiles appear to be Galapagos Land Iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus), an endangered species. The yellowish lizards can grow to be over a meter (three feet) long, with males weighing up to 13 kilograms (30 pounds).

The iguanas have been seen to raise themselves off the ground to allow finches to eat ticks off their bellies — the same Galapagos finches that inspired Charles Darwin when he visited the islands in the 19th century.

In 1976 wild dogs wiped out a colony of around 500 of the iguanas on the island of Santa Cruz. The national park rescued around 60 survivors and launched a captive breeding program to try to revive the species.

The Galapagos Islands, situated about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off Ecuador’s coast, gained fame when Darwin visited in 1835 to conduct research that led to his revolutionary theories on evolution.

The archipelago has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 for the rich plant and animal life found both on land and in the surrounding sea.

The man arrested on Monday faces a prison sentence of up to three years if convicted of the charges.

Several weeks ago, science writer Virginia Hughes wrote a piece about her trip to the Galapagos Islands. In it, she described a project in which scientists intentionally killed eighty thousand feral goats on one of the islands in the archipelago. The post led to an interesting conversation in the comments: here.

8 thoughts on “German Galapagos iguana thief caught

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  4. Helicopter is sent in to wipe out millions of rats

    Friday November 16 2012

    The unique bird and reptile species that make the Galapagos Islands a treasure for scientists and tourists must be preserved, Ecuadorean authorities said – and that means the rats must die, hundreds of millions of them.

    A helicopter is to begin dropping nearly 22 tonnes of specially designed poison bait on the islands, launching the second phase of a campaign to clear out by 2020 non-native rodents from the archipelago that helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    The invasive Norway and black rats have critically endangered bird species on the 19-island cluster 600 miles from Ecuador’s coast.

    Irish Independent


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