September 12, 2003

Scraping the Icing Off the Galapagos

No icing on this cake.

Our far-flung correspondents: Michael Wilson is back from a sojourn in the Galapagos with an interesting analysis of how that remote ecosystem functions, and a hopeful prognosis for the future of the islands at Michael's Web: Galapagos

What makes [ecological management] striking in the Galapagos is how well it works. Animals there aren't "tame", they just don't care about you, any more than they would a rock or other animal not recognized as food or prey. Sea lions find people interesting, not because they're people, but because they find everything interesting, from sharks, to shells, to anchor lines. We just happen to be more extra cast members in the little theatre of their lives.

You see the same thing in Botswana's safari camps, or in the arctic. In he latter case, you don't go on land when you see polar bears because they regard you as part of the landscape (except that you're part of the food chain in their case). Sure, the older ones (who remember when they were hunted for their pelts) are still shy, and they all understandably avoid things like large ships, but by and large people have been reduced to insignificant features of the landscape.

Posted by Van der Leun at September 12, 2003 10:59 AM
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