The Galápagos Islands, about 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, are rather isolated volcanic islands, whose flora and fauna famously inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection (“survival of the fittest”) as a mechanism for evolution. I visited there for a week in 2007 as part of a university course.
There are parts of the islands that are so recently volcanic that even vegetation barely grows.
The islands manage to support a wide variety of animal life, including sea birds, Darwin’s famous finches, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas. Only a few islands are inhabited by humans, and they have historically only been visited periodically by sailors, so the animals do not really have a fear of people and will allow you to get quite close.
The famous Galapagos tortoises were unfortunately used as food by the itinerant sailors, with the consequence that several subspecies on different islands are endangered or extinct. The research center there has a breeding program to help nature along. And in exciting news, a Fernandina giant tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus), a species last seen in 1906, was recently discovered in the wild.
You can find more wildness at the original Lens-Artist challenge, guest hosted this week by Dianne at Rambling Ranger.