Two new successful raids against marine species brokers took place in Puerto Ayora, in the Galapagos. The first one was February 22 which found 554 lbs of dried sea cucumber and allowed the capture of one person while the second one took place February 23 and found 180 lbs of dried sea cucumber. One person was arrested within the second raid.
On February, 7th, 2008, the Environmental Police in clandestine collaboration with WildAid seized 126 kilos of sea cucumbers valued at $18,900 in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The operation which began in Galapagos took over one month to develop and resulted in the arresting of three individuals: Henry Villamar Ortega (42), Jose Macias Cuenca (28) and Jose Solarzano Vera (32). Sea cucumber populations have been overexploited in recent years and there is currently a moratorium on the harvesting of sea cucumbers.
The Galapagos Islands are a place of unsurpassed beauty and home to an abundance of wildlife. In addition to spectacular vistas, there are over 3,000 species of marine plants and wildlife. Visitors to the area may encounter sea lions at play, slow moving tortoises, iguanas, and sea turtles and other native creatures - all living without fear of predators. But the ecosystems are extremely fragile, and the boost in tourism has become a threat to the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos.
A link to the original article on the New York Times, can be found here.
Unnoticed and unappreciated for five decades, a large female turtle with a stained, leathery shell is now a precious commodity in this city's decaying zoo. She is fed a special diet of raw meat. Her small pool has been encased with bulletproof glass. A surveillance camera monitors her movements. A guard is posted at night.