Wednesday March 20, 2019
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Santiago Island, Galapagos Reintroduced To Iguanas

The Galapagos archipelago, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the Ecuador coast, contains unique wildlife and vegetation, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Iguana, galapagos
A Galapagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) sunbathe at the Tortuga Bay beach on the Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Ecuador, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

A group of more than 1,400 iguanas have been reintroduced to an Ecuadoran island in the Galapagos archipelago around two centuries after they disappeared from there, authorities said on Monday.

The Galapagos land iguanas from North Seymour Island were freed onto Santiago Island as part of an ecological restoration program, the National Galapagos Park authority said in a statement.

The last recorded sighting of iguanas in Santiago Island had been made by British naturalist Charles Darwin in 1835.

iguana, galapagos
Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) sunbathe at the Tortuga Bay beach on the Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Ecuador, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

“Almost two centuries later, this ecosystem will once again count on this species through the restoration initiative,” said the park authority.

Its director, Jorge Carrion, said the iguanas became extinct due to the introduction of predators such as the feral pig, which was eradicated in 2001.

The program is also aimed at protecting the population of iguanas on North Seymour, said to number around 5,000, where food is limited.

“The land iguana is a herbivore that helps ecosystems by dispersing seeds and maintaining open spaces devoid of vegetation,” said Danny Rueda, the park authority’s ecosystems director.

Iguana, galapagos
A Galapagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) sunbathe next to tourists at the Tortuga Bay beach on the Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Ecuador, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

The Galapagos archipelago, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the Ecuador coast, contains unique wildlife and vegetation, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Also Read: India To Release 8 Endangered White-Backed Vultures In The Wild

But it has one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. (VOA)

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The United States Of America Drops Out Of Top 20 Corrupt Countries

For the 2018 index, 180 countries were surveyed. Denmark and New Zealand topped the list while Somalia, Syria, and South Sudan were at the bottom.

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USA, Corruption
U.S. President Donald Trump is seen through his transparent teleprompter as he speaks during the Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 17, 2019. VOA

A global anti-corruption watchdog says the United States has dropped four spots in its list of nations’ anti-corruption efforts and is now no longer listed in the top 20 for the first time.

Acting U.S. Representative at Transparency International, Zoe Reiter, calls a four point drop in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) a “red flag.”

She says it comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing “threats to its system of checks and balances” and an “erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

USA. government
Caravans from Central America have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a border wall on the frontier with Mexico., VOA

“If this trend continues, it would indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally,” Reiter says.

The United States scored a 71 in the perceptions index after scoring 75 the previous year.

“The expert opinion captured by the CPI supports the deep concern over corruption in government reported by America in our 2017 survey. Both experts and the public believe the situation is getting worse,” Reiter said.

Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Transparency International uses several criteria for measuring how well a country is fighting corruption, including checks and balances on political power, controls on conflicts of interest and private influence on government, and voter suppression.

Also Read: World’s Anti-Corruption Day

For the 2018 index, 180 countries were surveyed. Denmark and New Zealand topped the list while Somalia, Syria, and South Sudan were at the bottom. (VOA)