Photo via Mission Blue Flickr Stream; Credit: TED/James Duncan Davidson
TreeHugger Graham Hill was part of the Mission Blue Voyage put on by TED earlier in the month, and had a chance to get up close with the famous iguanas and sea lions of the Galapagos. The species are utterly unafraid of humans and if you're not looking out, you can step on them (which they don't exactly enjoy). Check out videos of the piled up iguanas, and a sea lion pup playing with mama.
Graham mentioned that you have to be really careful climbing over the rocks because you can easily step on these well camouflaged and unafraid animals - which he nearly did several times. Yet, recently researchers found a pink iguana living in the islands - quite different from the darker iguanas shown here.
The sea lions are super cool too. Here's a mama and pup. They're equally unafraid and can pose just as much of a trip hazard if you're wandering down the beach not paying attention. Interestingly, Galapagos sea lions are starting to move to Peru, setting up rookeries 900 miles from where they evolved. Rising sea temperatures is thought to be the reason behind the shift in location.
TreeHugger Brian went out to the Galapagos in 2008, taking gorgeous pictures of the wildlife while he learned about conservation efforts and the native flora and fauna during a study tour with top US educators.
The islands are endlessly interesting, and that's no small part of the reason why Mission Blue decided to voyage there - it underlines the diversity and uniqueness of marine ecosystems, and why conservation and preservation - especially in the form of marine protected areas - are so important.
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