visitors arrive to the Galapagos Islands they are immediately captivated
by the presence of many animals, birds, mammals, reptiles and the marine
life. The Galapagos Islands are truly a paradise where hundreds of species
coexist in perfect harmony.
However, after the first glance, many questions arise in their minds, and one of the first is: Where did the name of this beautiful islands come from? It is then when their Guide with a big smile begins telling them the story:
"The Galapagos Islands where discovered in 1835 by brother Thomas de Berlanga, whose ship lost its course when traveling from Panama to Lima, and he found himself in a place full of rocks and no water, and with no possibility of finding any.
Therefore his report about the islands was not very flattering.
Later on, other sailors started to visit the islands for other reasons, the pirates first and later the whale hunters looked for enormous gentle animals, which provided them with large amounts of meat for their journeys; they were the giant turtles. Due to their resemblance with a Spanish saddle, they were baptized with its name GALAPAGOS, throughout the years the name "Galapagos" was given to the islands that is why when we talk about the Galapagos Islands we are talking about a group of islands full of these enormous tortoises.
Unfortunately as it was being said that these animals were delicious, this attracted more and more sailors. These turtles can live without eating or drinking for more than 6 months, for the sailors it represented a "walking refrigerator". Besides, the fact that many people came to the islands to get their grease or their eggs from their nests they thought they were aphrodisiacs. Scientists have calculated that in the last two centuries the Galapagos Islands have lost between 200.000 and 300.000 of these gigantic turtles.
Currently of the 14 species only 11 remain, and the tortoise population consists of 20.000 in the whole archipelago. The Charles Darwin Station and the Galapagos National Park work jointly to increase the number of these species where they are endangered by the presence of animals introduced by man. The idea is to help repair the damage caused by humanity. The number of some of the species which were about to disappear has increased considerably.
We can thus say that Galapagos is more than a name, is more than a group of islands, it is an entire specie that because of man but with the help of man himself will be able to keep their presence in this beautiful paradise.