U.N. Takes Galapagos off 'threatened' List

NEW YORK, July 29 (UPI) — A U.N. panel has voted to remove the Galapagos Islands from a list of sites under environmental threat, a move criticized by environmental groups.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Committee approved removing the islands from its list of precious sites endangered by environmental threats or overuse, BBC News reported Thursday.

UNESCO declared the chain of volcanic islands whose bird and animal life influenced the evolution theories of Charles Darwin the first World Heritage Site in 1978.

But in 2007 they were added to UNESCO’s “red list” of endangered sites amid concerns of population growth, tourism, overfishing and the introductions of invasive species.

In removing them from the list, the committee cited significant progress by Ecuador in addressing threats to its islands.

The move was criticized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which said there was “still work to be done.”

“We will need continued strong commitment from the Ecuadorean government over the coming years to resolve these issues,” IUCN’s Tim Badman said.

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