Editor's note: This is part 2 of an exclusive four-part Crave series on Ecuador's plans to transform itself into a new hub of science, technology, and innovation. Read part 1, "Plotting the next Silicon Valley -- you'll never guess where."
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, Ecuador--There's a small group of solar panels set up next to a giant tortoise hatchery that's currently under renovation here. It wasn't many decades ago that these remarkable gentle giants -- which never stop growing and can live to be 150 and the size of a kitchen table -- didn't need help from humans to survive in their native habitat.
Ironically, it is the other species humans brought with them to this remote volcanic Pacific archipelago that have endangered these tortoises. Dogs, pigs, goats, rats, and even ants all prey on young tortoises here, making it virtually impossible for them to survive their first few years in the wild. Instead, they're raised in facilities like this one near the Charles Darwin Research Station.
There's plenty more paradox to be found on the Ecuadorian mainland. … Read more