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Galapagos Islands adds a new sponsor: movie star Richard Gere

Monday, March 23rd 2009 - 09:56 UTC
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US movie star Richard Gere, center, poses for pictures next to 'Lonesome Jorge', a giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The woman at left and the man at right are park guides. (AP Photo) US movie star Richard Gere, center, poses for pictures next to 'Lonesome Jorge', a giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The woman at left and the man at right are park guides. (AP Photo)

United States movie star Richard Gere has offered to campaign to save the Galapagos Islands from development and tourism. During a weekend visit to the Islands, Gere, 59, met Lonesome George, the last tortoise of his species, who was greeted by Prince Charles last week.

Galapagos National Park spokeswoman Vanessa Garcia says that during a visit to the Ecuadorean islands, Richard Gere offered to speak out publicly for their conservation.

“He was very enthusiastic about the Islands and offered, for nothing in exchange, to become a spokesperson; that he would allow us to use his voice and image whenever needed for the Galapagos cause”, said Garcia.

The Galapagos, 1.000 kilometres from mainland Ecuador, are home to unique animal and plant species and were a living laboratory for Charles Darwin. But conservationists say they are threatened by development and tourism.

Gere famous for his acting in “Pretty Woman” and “Chicago” and an outspoken advocate for human rights is touring the archipelago with his wife and son.

Televison channel Ecuadvisa broadcast shots of Gere in the Galapagos dressed in shorts and T-shirt and carrying a backpack, accompanied by his family.

According to the channel, Gere was trying to go unnoticed on his visit to the Islands, but was surprised to be caught by the cameras.

The actor, in a few words picked up by the TV channel, mentioned one of the guides at Galapagos National Park known as “Edwin” and said “he knows about everything” there is in the archipelago.

Galapagos since 1979 have been listed in UNESCO’s National Heritage of Humanity. Thousands flock annually to the islands attracted by its unique wild life, one of the latest visitors until mid last week was Prince Charles and wife Camilla

Categories: Environment, Latin America.

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