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Galapagos National Park

Internship and Volunteering Possible
At the Galapagos National Park, internships are available for students of biology, geography, tourism and related subjects. There are also volunteering activities, where you can take part in craft activities and Horticulture. 

Project Details

The Galapagos National Park aims to preserve the islands’ unique flora and fauna and to achieve sustainability of the population growth and tourism.

The biggest problem in Galapagos is the introduction of species of plants and animals that don’t have any natural enemies and that can therefore spread in an uncontrolled way and eradicate the local endemic species. These introduced species include the Mediterranean fruit fly, ants, tilapia, goats, pigs, donkeys, cats, rats and plants including guava, blackberry, caster-oil plant (higuerilla) and pennyroyal (poleo). Introduced rats for instance caused the extinction of the population of Galapagos tortoises on Pinzón Island. 543 introduced animal species were reported in Galapagos, out of which 55 are a serious direct threat to the endemic fauna. Introduced animals can also bring diseases and parasites to the islands' own, which can seriously unsettle the islands’ fragile biodiversity. Around 700 species of plants were introduced, out of which 50 are massively spreading. A change in the composition of the flora can have serious effects on the fauna, for which the plants serve as nutrition.
The work of the National Park administration includes prevention, monitoring and removal of introduced species. This includes strict controls of the introduction of new species via air and sea, and their permanent monitoring and eradication.
In tourism, the aim is to achieve environmental sustainability. Around 185,000 tourists visit the islands per year. The National Park administration is in charge of the training and licensing of guides, the definition and set-up of areas which are accessible to tourists and those that aren’t, and of activities which are allowed within these areas (such as using vehicles and fire-making). It also puts in place a general limitation to the number of tourists, and guidelines about waste management. The National Park administration has park guards and coast guards that ensure the compliance to these areas and guidelines.
In the environmental management of inhabited areas (Galapagos has a population of around 50,000 people), the tasks include the implementation of sustainable practices in agriculture and fishery, the control of domestic animals and pets, pest control in rural areas, and water, sewage and waste management. There are environmental education activities for the population.

Internship in Galapagos National park

The internship placement at Galapagos National Park is only open to students or professionals of biology, ecology, tourism and other related careers. It can take place within projects of any island of the Galapagos archipelago. The headquarters are in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where the National Park has a total of 52 staff members including park guards and coast guards.

As an intern you can work in all subject areas mentioned, including the monitoring of land and marine species, environmental education for tourists and the population, supervision of activities done by tourists and locals, and planning and development of tourism, land use, and sustainability guidelines.
As a participant you should have at least intermediate skills of the Spanish language. The maximum duration of the internship placement is 6 months. The preparation of your placement takes at least 6 weeks. If you work at headquarters, accommodation will be at the house shared by participants in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno; for field work, accommodation might be in tents.

Volunteering in Galapagos National park

Volunteers do manual work with the Park Rangers in the Galapaguera area in the highlands of San Cristobal, about 40 minutes out of the port town Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. In this area, you will find the park ranger house and the volunteer house, the greenhouse, a to-be-reforested area and the semi-natural tortoise roaming and breeding area. It is also close to Puerto Chino, a beautiful beach and snorkel and surf spot. Your main activities will be:
  • Helping to eradicate invasive plant species or plagues of invasive insects
  • Reforesting areas of National Park with native and endemic plants
  • Working in the plant nursery for endemic species
  • Helping to maintain the Galapaguera, a National Park protected area where Giant Tortoises live in their natural environment. You clean the tortoise ponds, help to collect data and measurements of the tortoises, register nesting sites etc.
  • Maintain and look after National Park areas including trail maintenance, making/repairing signs etc.
Your working day will depend on the tasks that need to be carried out. Generally you will work from Monday to Friday for 4 to 7 hours per day. We recommend volunteers in Galapagos to add some days to travel around the island AFTER their volunteering activity. During the volunteer activity you cannot take days off to travel.

The start for volunteering is ALWAYS ON SATURDAYS! The duration of volunteering should be 3-12 weeks.
Info Box
Location: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobál Island), Galapagos
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: Internship - 1 Month; Volunteering - 3 Weeks
Maximum Duration: Internship - 6 Months; Volunteering - 12 Weeks
Language Requirements: Basic Spanish
Shared Accommodation, Tents
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Ranger, Biologist, Geographer
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: -
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

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