The Galapagos Islands wildlife is the primary reason our guests come to Galapagos. Visitors have the opportunity to observe and interact with the unique wildlife of the Galapagos archipelago. The Galapagos Islands were one of the last places discovered by man on earth. The wildlife of Galapagos had lived in an environment free of humans until 1535.
Charles Darwin did not discover the Galapagos Islands. There has been speculation that earlier mariners such as the Incas or Polynesians may have visited the Galapagos. There is no record of humans visiting or inhabiting Galapagos until Fray Tomas de Berlanga, the bishop of Panama, sailed to Peru to settle a dispute between Francisco Pizarro and his lieutenants after the conquest of the Incas. As his ship was sailing to Peru, the winds died and strong currents carried his ship to the Galapagos archipelago. On March 10, 1535 they came upon the Galapagos Islands. He wrote an account of the adventure and discovery and sent it to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. This is the first recorded visit of the Galapagos by man.
Due to the isolation of the Galapagos Islands the wildlife for the most part have not developed a fear of humans that you normally see in wildlife when you go on wildlife expeditions. Animals in Galapagos show a curiosity or do not pay much attention to the new human creators in their home environment. To preserve this unique wildlife interaction, the Galapagos National Park has rules to preserve the animals carefree attitude toward humans that both visitors and locals alike observe.
The Galapagos Islands are home to a large number of endemic species that are found nowhere else on earth. Approximately 80% of the land birds you will see, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic. More than 20% of the marine species in Galapagos are also endemic. You will not experience these Galapagos animals and plants anywhere else on earth. Some of the favorite animals to see are the Galapagos giant tortoise, marine iguana, and the Galapagos penguin. The Galapagos is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere that you will find penguins. If you are looking for a special wildlife expedition experience the Galapagos Islands are an excellent choice for your adventure.
Donna Daugherty is a long time permanent resident of the Galapagos Islands. She has worked as consultant for the Charles Darwin Foundation and is a founding member of Ambiente Independiente. She is an entrepreneur owning and developing businesses for over 20 years. The owner of Torre Mar Galapagos Apartment Hotel serving guests in Galapagos.