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Ecuador to expel 6,000 illegal residents from world heritage site
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09:55, August 15, 2007

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Eliecer Cruz, governor of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, a United Nations World Heritage Site, said Tuesday that Ecuador plans to expel 6,000 illegal residents from the archipelago.

The government warned in April that it would deport illegal residents to preserve the islands, which are located in the Pacific Ocean, 950 km west of Ecuador.

The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) said in June that the Islands' environment was at risk from tourists, immigrants and foreign species.

Cruz said that authorities bar tourists from Ecuador or overseas from spending more than three months on the islands, but that many come and stay permanently.

Raquel Molina, director of the Galapagos National Park, praised planned restrictions on visitors.

"It was a question of having the political will to carry out what is already laid down in law and regulate people's extended stays on the island," she said.

UNESCO listed the islands as a world heritage site because of its unique flora and fauna.

Source: Xinhua

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