Financial Contributions to Galapagos Programmes | October 30th, 2009

We have continued to support the Floreana Mockingbird project and sent a further contribution of $2000 in February. This project is being developed into a major worldwide appeal for the restoration of Floreana Island, probably the largest inhabited island that this has ever been attempted on.

At the AGM, Tui suggested that we think about focusing New Zealand’s contribution to Floreana on the land snails of the island.  While it is the speciation processes of finches that have gained the most public recognition (due to the work of Darwin and David Lack’s book), it is the land snails that show the most species-rich radiation of any group on the island.  There are 80 species of small land snails living all over the islands – from the desert-like lowlands to the tropical highlands. Each is a different shape, size and colour, and many are starting to disappear. 

Tui explained that the key threat to the snails on Floreana is introduced species, and in the areas where pest control has been undertaken to protect the Mockingbird (supported by your contributions), there has been an amazing recovery of snails as well.

The idea of a New Zealand focus on supporting pest control to protect critical snail populations was well received by the AGM – it would give a clear focus for our contributions, and would involve us in an area of work that New Zealand has good expertise in.  Julian will be discussing this idea with the National Park Authority when he visits Galapagos again later this year, and the committee will consider it further when he reports back.  Any thoughts from members very welcome.