Ecuador is a republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north and Peru on the east and south. Ecuador includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1000 kilometres west of the mainland. The country has 4 main geographic regions: La Costa, La Sierra, La Amazonía, also known as El Oriente, and La Región Insular (Galápagos Islands).
Ecuador is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world and it has the most biodiversity of any country. It has 1,600 bird species from which over 38 species are endemic in the Galápagos. In addition to over 106 species of reptiles, the country has 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galápagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna, famous as the place of birth of Darwin's Theory of Evolution and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Despite being on the UNESCO list, the Galápagos are endangered by a range of negative environmental effects. Oil exploitation of the Amazon rainforest has led to the release of billions of gallons of untreated wastes, gas, and crude oil into the environment, contaminating ecosystems and causing detrimental health effects to indigenous peoples.