Galapagos Institutions Working to Improve the Islands
Most Galapagos visitors come and go to the Islands without much thought to the various organizations that are working daily to maintain and improve not only the tourist experience but also the lives of the thousands of people who call the islands home. The Galapagos organization that most people are familiar with is the Charles Darwin Foundation, which is constantly striving to keep the islands as pristine as possible. They're not the only ones, however. Not too long ago, several key Galapagos institutions announced their priorities for the next year, and they include eliminating introduced species, improving island services and ensuring that visitors have a memorable experience.
AGROCALIDAD to Maintain Vigilance on Introduced Species
AGROCALIDAD is the Ecuadorian agency that controls agricultural products, making sure that Ecuadorian produce meets international laws and standards, enforcing national agricultural policies, etc. At first it may seem that they would have nothing to do with Galapagos, but they are actually charged with the extremely important job of enforcing the quarantine against introduced species (primarily plants) into Galapagos. AGROCALIDAD maintains five inspection points where produce is examined to keep harmful new species out of the islands. This year, they hope to train new personnel and stress to them the importance of keeping invasive species out of Galapagos.
CIMEI to Focus on Rodents
CIMEI stands for Comité Interinstitutional para Manejo y Control de Especies Introducidas, or Inter-institutional Committee for the Management and Control of Introduced Species. It is a Galapagos-specific organization dedicated to the control of introduced domestic animals such as cats and dogs. They grant pet licenses and generally work in the three main towns of Galapagos, leaving the park service and the Charles Darwin Foundation to eradicate pests in the park areas such as goats and birds. This year, they're focusing on the problem of introduced rodent species in the towns and in agricultural areas.
CAPTURGAL to Improve Tourism Quality
CAPTURGAL is the agency that regulates tourism in Galapagos. This year, they'll be working with all of the companies that promote tourism in the islands, and offering courses, seminars and workshops to improve services. Many of the companies have already earned the “Bronze Seal” of offering quality services to visitors and those companies that have not yet earned it are striving to do so.
Municipalities to Improve Services
Each of the towns in Galapagos has a local government, and these work hard to improve the lives of the residents as well as provide services for tourism. This year, Puerto Ayora is focusing in sustainable development, while Puerto Baquerizo Moreno inaugurates a new tourist pier and Puerto Villamil will improve and modernize their waste-removal facilities.
All of these behind-the scenes agencies work very hard every day to create and improve the first-class Galapagos experience!