LIVING in the unique environment of the Galapagos archipelago has given me an appreciation for the wildlife and habitat of the very special place I call home.
The Galapagos Islands are home to many unique species of flora and fauna, which are not found anywhere else in the world, and which were key to Charles Darwin’s formulation of his theory of evolution.
Just like the Galapagos, the Firth of Forth islands off the coast of East Lothian are also a very special environment for wildlife.
Indeed, the creation of the Scottish Seabird Centre was driven by members of the local community, who appreciate the special nature of the area’s abundant wildlife and wish visitors to see and appreciate seabirds and other wildlife in a sustainable way.
The Seabird Centre’s world-leading camera technology innovation allows local residents, visitors, researchers and scientists to zoom in on amazing wildlife in their natural habitats, observing the animals much more closely than they could in reality, without disturbing them, and without having to visit environmentally fragile locations.
I’m in Scotland to assess that technology for myself and I envisage the same technology working within the Galapagos National Park in very much the same way as it does at North Berwick.
Not only will remote wildlife viewing act as a hugely significant step forward in helping wildlife tourism to be more sustainable, it will potentially also allow visitors to see areas of the Galapagos that would not otherwise be open to them during a visit to the islands.
In addition, this offers researchers and scientists involved in the conservation of species unparalleled insights into life on the islands, all without visiting environmentally sensitive areas.
I hope that the developing international partnership between the Scottish Seabird Centre and the Galapagos National Park will lead to live footage from each being beamed across the world so that visitors in the Galapagos can view footage from Scotland and vice versa.
Working together, we can make the world a smaller, more accessible and sustainable place.
• Roberto Maldonado is a director of the Galapagos National Park