World's Best National Parks: Galapagos Islands
Despite a few dissenters, most people now agree that Chuck Darwin was on to something when he first noticed variations in the mockingbirds and tortoises from different islands of the Galapagos archipelago.
Today, the Ecuadorian government, which controls Galapagos, has set aside 90 percent of the land for Galapagos National Park. More than 1.7 million acres comprise the natural reserve. Bizarre and beautiful indigenous animals run through the islands' lush fauna. The park service works with the Charles Darwin Research Station to conserve and protect the unique wildlife. This means strict restrictions on ships and a watchful eye on tourism.
Unfortunately, more ships than Darwin's Beagle sailed to the islands over the past several hundred years. As always, white sailors and settlers came bearing gifts: VD and feral animals. Today, the groups work to eradicate these animals, like fire ants, pigeons, and black rats. If they can come up to New York and clean up the East Village next, that would be great.