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Galapagos is a rare success story in nature conservation in the developing world. In the last few years, a less corrupt central government has put more emphasis on its protection. Park rules on tourist impacts are strict and being enforced- outgoing luggage is searched for contraband.A Special Law preventing other poor Ecuadorians from moving to the islands is also being enforced. Better, more is being done to give local people a stake in its protection. Those with residence permits now have the exclusive right to act as park wardens, and only park wardens can act as tourist guides. The wardens are accredited and supervised by the National Park administration, but at no cost to the local government because the tour outfitters pay them. The 85 licensed tour boats also act as patrol boats, making life harder for poachers who found it easy to evade the Park Service’s single cruiser.
This relationship might amount to foxes “guarding” the chicken coop. In fact, most of the tour operators seem to recognize that their livelihood depends on protecting this special place from destruction. Other links to the local people come from making the tour ships an important market for local crafts, fish and produce. The Galapagos are divided into exclusive zones, with 70% still open for fishing. Teachers in the local schools are offered cruises to visit the wonders of the archipelago, which they have all heard of but never seen. Some of the $100 park entrance fee goes to local institutions. Other portions go to the expensive eradication campaigns against rats, pigs, goats and donkeys, invasive species that sometimes decimate the landscape.
Of course, all of this would be helpless against climate change. Most of Galapagos is already extremely hot and arid- further drying would be catastrophic for many species. And many essential breeding sites are not far above sea level.

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