New National Park regulation for tortoise corals visits at the Darwin Station Research Station (Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island)
Effective September 1st 2011, visitors to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz, will no longer be allowed to enter or walk inside the interior walls of the tortoise corals.
Guides have reported that passengers are not following rules prohibiting them from touching or feeding the tortoises. Passengers will only be able to view the tortoises from outside the corals walls.
Translation from original Spanish source: Parque Nacional Galapagos
Close access to Charles Darwin Research Station Breeding Center pens
The measure adopted is in response to the lack of responsibility by naturalist guides and tourists visiting the site.
This week, the Galapagos National Park Authorities, have proceeded to close off access to two of the six pens that house the different species of Galapagos Giant Tortoises that reproduce in the Charles Darwin Research Station located in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island.
The only two pens that have traditionally had access to the public, were closed by park rangers to keep tourists from entering into the pens. There have been numerous reports received by the environmental authority in recent months that indicate an increase in irresponsible and unsuitable behaviour by some naturalist guides and tourist visitors in general who come to visit this popular site.
The reports document an improper handling of waste/trash and disregard for the rules to visit the protected areas, such as the prohibition against touching the animals and maintaining a minimum distance of two meters. It has also been demonstrated that a large number of visitors climb the feeding platforms of the tortoises.
The closure of access to these two pens does not have a negative impact on a the visit, because the tourism infrastructure implemented at the Centre is designed with points of interpretation and viewpoints from which to observe turtles that are kept in this center.
The Galapagos National Park will monitor the measure to decide if it suspends or remains the same for an indefinite period.
The Center for Reproduction and Breeding Captive Giant Tortoise “Fausto Llerena”, is located on Santa Cruz Island, has been in operation for more than 40 years. It is considered a cultural/educational visit site. This Center receives about 7,800 visitors a month and currently houses 925 youth and 70 adult turtles.
Prepared by the Process of Public Relations of the Galapagos National Park Directorate
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