US Zoo will recreate the Galapagos Islands as a conservation model

09 May 2021 – 02:58

Quito, May 8 (EFE) .- The zoo in the US city of Houston is preparing for an exhibition next year on the Galapagos Islands, as part of the campaign “Preserving our world natural capital”, in a recreation that seeks to show the archipelago Ecuadorian as a conservation model.

This was revealed this Saturday by the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (PNG), after indicating that the exhibition, which will be presented in the fall of next year, is part of the actions that the Houston Zoo will carry out to commemorate a centenary of its creation and highlight the management and conservation programs applied by the Ecuadorian State in the Galapagos.

In addition, the PNG clarified that for said exhibition, no species of the archipelago will be transferred to the US, as such a transfer is prohibited by Ecuadorian laws and is a condition of the conservation programs of the Islands.

“We consider that this exhibition is an important platform for raising awareness about what Galapagos is, taking into account that this zoo (the one in Houston) receives around 2 million visitors annually, which will contribute to the extension of the conservation message that we promote” said PNG director Danny Rueda.

Rueda met with Lee Ehmke, president and CEO of the Houston Zoo, to discuss this activity, the PNG said in a statement.

“The purpose of the new exhibit is to highlight the incredible wildlife of Galapagos, raise awareness of the conservation challenges facing the archipelago, and encourage our visitors to support ocean conservation in general,” Ehmke said.

He also noted that the exhibition could promote responsible tourism to the Galapagos Islands and benefit the work done in the archipelago to preserve “the unique wildlife found there.”

During the meeting between Rueda and Ehmke, it was explained that the recreation of the Galapagos habitats in the exhibition will include a “Humboldt penguin”, a “Caribbean iguana” and a “Californian sea lion”, species that have been donated by others spaces where they were kept in captivity.

In addition, several giant tortoises that have been part of the zoo for decades will be featured as protagonists and were transferred from the Galapagos “long before the first protection laws were implemented,” said the PNG.

He added that these chelonians have remained at the Houston Zoo even before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITE) was established, an international treaty that entered into force in 1975, a convention to which Ecuador has subscribed to since that time

The clarification arose to disperse the doubts that may arise in the Galapagos and Ecuadorian communities, and to emphasize that the exhibition does not involve the transfer of protected species from Galapagos to Houston.

This “is not possible under any circumstances, considering that our species are protected by national regulations and international agreements,” noted the PNG.

The Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean about a thousand kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador, were declared a Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1978 thanks to their rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity, where many unique species inhabit in the world.

This archipelago is made up of 13 large islands, 6 smaller and 42 islets, and is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species. EFE

Read the original coverage from EFE via SwissInfo.Ch at

Read additional coverage on the upcoming exhibit via the Houston Chronicle at

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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