Floreana Mockingbird Mimus trifasciatus | November 6th, 2008

Members will recall that our annual appeal last year was for the endangered Floreana Mockingbird which is endangered by the arrival of fire ants on one of its two remaining breeding areas, Champion Island off Floreana. On May 20, the Floreana Mockingbird was uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered, the highest threat category on the IUCN Red List.

CDF & GNP have developed a Short-term Emergency Management Plan to safeguard the species. CDF has carried out various monitoring studies since 2003 to determine the Floreana Mockingbird’s population and the possible threats that led to its extinction on Floreana Island proper. Among the main threats identified to date are introduced species and climate changes stemming from El Niño and La Niña events. In 2007, monitoring of this species registered a modest population increase to a world total of 137 individuals, compared to fewer than 100 still alive in 2006.

The project consists of three phases. The first involves planning and setting up the task force, gathering information, developing a program to refine mockingbird breeding techniques and procedures for working with the local community, and eradicating all introduced species. The second phase will focus on adapting wild individuals to captivity, facilitating their reproduction, and performing the first release trials. The third and final phase will involve supervising the released population to ensure successful restoration, plus ongoing monitoring of the species for at least five years. The project will last approximately 10 years in all. To assure fulfillment of the project’s objectives, support from national and international organisations will be necessary. Only joint efforts can prevent these from being the last 137 Floreana Mockingbirds on Earth.

FOGNZ has already contributed to this programme and will continue to do whatever it can to protect this and other threatened species in Galapagos.