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Ecuador: Scientists Discover First Totally Pristine New Coral Reef In Galapagos Islands

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A previously unidentified coral reef with an abundance of marine life has been found off Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, the nation’s environment ministry announced on Monday.

Environment Minister Jose Davalos posted on Twitter, “A deepwater scientific expedition has found the first totally pristine coral reef, approximately two kilometres (1.2 miles) long, at 400 metres (deep), on the summit of a submarine mountain. Galapagos surprises us again!”

The Wellington Reef, which is located near Darwin Island, was previously thought to be the only Galapagos reef to survive El Nino conditions in 1982 and 1983, but the recent discovery demonstrates that other coral has survived, the ministry stated in a statement.

Over 50% of the coral on the reef is still alive.

“This is very important at a global level because many deepwater systems are degraded,” said Stuart Banks, senior marine researcher at the Charles Darwin Foundation and participant in the mission. He stated that the coral is at least several thousand years old.

In order to safeguard endangered migratory animals between the Galapagos and Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, the South American nation last year increased the 138,000 square km (or 60,000 square miles) existing Galapagos marine reserve by 60,000 square km (or 23,166 square miles).

Giant tortoises, albatrosses, cormorants, and other species, some of which are endangered, can be found in the Galapagos, which served as the model for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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