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Overpopulating paradise

Measuring the destruction wrought by overpopulation in the Galapagos Islands.

Marine iguanas are seen at the Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island, Sept. 15, 2008. (Guillermo Granja/Reuters)

The Galapagos is one of the few pristine archipelagos in the world where loss of the original biodiversity has been kept to a minimum, says Gunter Reck, an ecologist and longtime resident.

Reck has, however, been joined by Galapagos officials, businessmen and locals in warning that this paradise is on the brink of a crisis.

Overpopulation and a corresponding rise in tourism have worsened energy, water and waste problems.

Many families have four children or more, and 80 to 85 percent of the population makes its living from tourism.

Videographer Pailin Wedel reports from Galapagos:

Pailin Wedel, who normally covers Thailand for GlobalPost, traveled to the Galapagos Islands this summer to report there.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/the-americas/090812/overpopulating-paradise