Road Kill in Galapagos | November 6th, 2008

When I arrived in Galapagos there was only one vehicle on Santa Cruz, and only about 2km of ‘road’. Much has changed in the last 43 years, and the birds of Santa Cruz now have another human introduced problem to survive, being hit by a speeding motor vehicle.

On May 9th and 10th, the CDF counted 95 dead birds on the road from Puerto Ayora to the South Channel (Canal de Itabaca) which separates Santa Cruz from Baltra.  In spite of efforts by the CDF, National Park and the police, speeding is a way of life for the Galapagueno motorist with no speed cameras to catch them. The brief survey followed earlier monitoring in 2001-06 which totted up the amazing and alarming total of 8,121 dead birds in the last year of the study alone. The biggest victim was the delightful yellow warbler followed closely by the medium and small ground finches. Lots of good recommendations have been made to lessen the problem but I suspect that the only real answer is less road maintenance and more potholes.