Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

About 200 pink iguanas are left on the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island, the largest in the Galapagos.

A volcano erupted on an island in the Galapagos it is home to a critically endangered iguana, the Galapagos National Park announced Friday, but it said the species is far from the affected area.

The slopes of the Wolf volcano house the pink iguana, of which only 211 have remained on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, since last August.

The volcano, the highest of the Galapagos, is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the nearest human settlement.

In a statement shared The Galapagos National Park said on Facebook on Friday that the volcano had released several thousand meters high smoke and ash plumes moving to the north side of the island where no people are in danger.

The national park said it had sent eight park rangers and scientists working with the pink iguana to investigate the situation Friday morning as a matter of precaution.

“The team has confirmed that the habitat of these species is far from the eruption and the impact zone, so no additional protection measures are currently being considered,” the statement said.

Located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a protected wildlife area and home to unique species of flora and fauna.

The archipelago was discovered by a British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin‘s observations on evolution there.

The area also houses yellow iguanas and the famous Galapagos Giant Turtles.

The pink iguana was first spotted by park rangers in 1986 and classified as a separate species as another land iguana on the Galapagos in 2009, according to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT), a UK registered charity working on conservation on the islands.

The Wolf volcano sprays smoke and lava on Isabela Island during its last eruption in 2015The Wolf volcano sprays smoke and lava on Isabela Island during its last eruption in 2015 [Galapagos National Park/Diego Paredes/Handout via Reuters]

The trust describes the iguanas as “one of the most vulnerable species in the Galapagos”, saying on its website that only about 200 of them are left on the island, limited to an area of ​​25 square kilometers (9.6 square miles) on the slopes of the island. Wolf volcano. They are not found anywhere else.

“Similar in appearance to Galapagos land iguanas, they have a short head and powerful hind legs with sharp claws on their toes, but despite their intimidating appearance, they are mainly herbivores – feeding on prickly pear leaves and fruit,” it said.

“Their only distinctive feature is their color; pink with dark vertical stripes along their body. ”

The Wolf volcano last erupted in 2015 after 33 years of inactivity, without affecting local wildlife.

In turn, the Quito Geophysical Institute said the 1,707-meter (5,600-foot) volcano spewed gas and ash clouds as high as 3,800 meters (12,467-feet) into the sky, with lava flows on its southern and southeastern slopes. .

Isabela Island also houses four other active volcanoes.

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