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Ecuador Launches Locally Made Drone

President Rafael Correa recently unveiled Ecuador’s first locally manufactured unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which will be used by authorities to fight drug trafficking by monitoring borders and inaccessible areas, of which there are many in the Ecuadorian jungles. In addition to producing drones for use in Ecuador, the intention is to manufacture and export to other South American countries. Named the UAV-2 Gavilán (meaning 'hawk'), the prototype drone was designed and tested by the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) over a period of five years. President Correa noted in his presentation that the cost of the new Gavilán is around $500,000, compared with the price of $20 million paid in 2007 for six Israeli UAVs.

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Rediscovery of Pinocchio Lizard in Ecuador

With the ongoing issue of habitat destruction in Ecuador and various animal species facing extinction, conservationists are celebrating the fact that a lizard once thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in the cloud forests. One look at the Pinocchio lizard (Anolis proboscis) explains where this little reptile got its name. The male of the species has a long protrusion on the end of its nose, making one think of the fairytale wooden puppet Pinocchio, whose nose grew longer each time he told a lie.

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Eco-Airport for Galápagos Islands

Listed as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1985, the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador are among the country's most popular tourist attractions, particularly for nature lovers who are drawn by the archipelago's fascinating flora and fauna. It was Charles Darwin who drew the world's attention to the Galápagos, with the endemic species on the islands providing the basis for his Theory of Evolution and his book The Origin of Species - and the world’s fascination with the Galápagos has certainly not faded over the years. In 2012 more than 180,000 people visited these legendary islands, and now visitors to the islands will be able to take eco-tourism to a new level with the completion of the ecological airport on Baltra Island – the inauguration of which is planned for early March 2013.

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Galapagos Eco-friendly Housing Development

With a housing development of 1,150 homes planned for the Galapagos Island of Santa Cruz, Prince Charles has been called in to assist conservationists so that the controversial plan can be implemented in a way that would not harm this vital ecosystem. The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment will thus be setting up an office in Puerto Ayora next month to assist in creating sustainable housing on the island.

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Quintoloma – Incan Empire Fortresses

The history of the Incan Empire has long intrigued historians and archeologists, with fascinating aspects of their rise and fall still being discovered today. The latest discovery has been a series of Incan fortresses along an extinct volcano in Ecuador, believed to date back some five centuries. Archeologists working on the site, named Quintoloma, have concluded that there are up to twenty Incan fortresses forming a frontier from which they defended their territory and launched attacks on the forts of the Ecuadorian Cayambe people, located at a site now known as Pambamarca.

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Galapagos off UNESCO Danger List

The Galapagos Islands, just off the coast of Ecuador, are a chain of volcanic islands referred to as an archipelago. Tourists flock to the islands to catch a glimpse of the endemic species and rare wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin and have captivated generations for centuries. But it is also the presence of the current population and the endless number of tourists that have put the Galapagos Islands at risk, and saw to it that they were added to the UNESCO danger list of world heritage sites in 2007. But innovative efforts by the Ecuadorian government has brought change and hope to this breathtaking natural wonder.

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Galapagos Islands: Home to Pink Iguanas

The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are renowned for being home to a variety of strange and unusual creatures and it seems that reputation continues to be proved yet again. Recent research suggests that a peculiar looking iguana, which has been thought to simply be an iguana with pigmentation problems, is, in fact, a completely new species of iguana.

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Quito’s Independence Day Celebrations in August

During the month of August, the streets of Quito come alive with color, music, concerts, parades, cultural exhibitions and festivities. It is all in celebration of Quito’s Independence Day that falls on 10 August. This date is not exclusively Quito’s Independence Day, as it is celebrated throughout most of the country, as Ecuador’s Independence Day as well. The city of Quito is where independence for Ecuador began, the day Ecuadorians rose up and started to take back their country.

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