[Updated 2/14/2020] In a rugged archipelago situated 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, there are more than 200 recorded species of Galapagos Islands animals.
From a historical perspective, the islands’remote location and harsh volcanic terrain played a huge role in their current status as a world-renowned nature sanctuary.
The islands were a favorite spot among pirates (who pillaged the Galapagos tortoise population for meat) and whalers (who plundered its waters for their ample bounty) in the 17th and 18th centuries.
But all efforts to colonize the area ended badly, and by the late 1800s the Galapagos Islands were widely considered cursed.
Most of the 13 major and 7 smaller islands remain uninhabited today, with over 97% of the archipelago