The wonders of the wildlife in Galapagos will only remain for people to see if we can protect them and their environment. There are many threats to the wildlife and only by providing funds and expertise for programs to control them will that wonderful wildlife survive.
The two organisations most involved in the conservation of the flora and fauna of Galapagos are the Galapagos National Park (GNP) and the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). The GNP does most of the field work, while CDF provides the research information and scientific advice to ensure that the programs are as effective as possible. The main priorities identified are:
- complete eradication of Goats and Donkeys;
- control and eradication of key invasive invertebrates;
- comprehensive inventories of plants and invertebrates;
- eradication of small as well as new populations of invasive plants;
- biological control of priority invasive plants;
- develop a management plan for large scale plant control and eradication program;
- develop a comprehensive plan for the eradication of introduced rats.
You can see from this that the major problem is the control and eradication of introduced and invasive plants and animals which are particularly damaging to the ecosystem on isolated oceanic islands. First however we need a better understanding of the biology of the species and of the ecosystem so that the eradication or control program can be specific and effective.
One of the keys to conserving the Galapagos is education of the people who live there, to help them to understand the value of their environment and the need to protect it. Both the GNP and CDF along with Fundar Galapagos and other organisations, are involved in education programmes in the islands.
We also need to educate visitors to understand more about the need to protect the islands, and to pass on this information to the rest of the world. This way we may be able to preserve the wonder that is the Galapagos Islands.