Last night, Monday 22 January 2018, we were delighted to be joined by Dr Arturo Izurieta, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), to celebrate science in Galapagos. As well as some excellent networking over wine and nibbles, we were treated to some brilliant talks.
His Excellency Mr Carlos Abad Ortiz, the Ambassador of Ecuador, opened the talks by emphasizing the importance of the work of CDF and GCT in conserving the Islands, and mentioned the 25 year agreement signed by CDF and the Government of Ecuador to strengthen crucial scientific research and conservation efforts in Galapagos. Dr Mark Collins, GCT Chair, welcomed all to the event and emphasised the importance of the Charles Darwin Foundation as our partner on the Islands, helping to guide our priorities and fundraising campaigns. Sharon Johnson, GCT Chief Executive, then followed and explored the partnership between CDF and GCT over the last 22 years and the projects we have supported. This included providing seed funding for the research into the devastating invasive Philornis fly, several years of funding for seabird monitoring and our ongoing support of the Mangrove Finch Project.
Dr Arturo Izurieta then gave a talk about the work of CDF, focussing on the fight to save the critically endangered mangrove finch for which GCT have been a major funder for several years*. Through rearing chicks in captivity and then releasing them to the wild (head-starting), they have successfully released 39 fledglings back into their native habitat and seen two of the hand-reared birds nesting with wild partners. There is still work to do to protect them from the invasive Philornis fly, however, which has been decimating their population. If you would like to know more about his talk, you can download a summary (PDF 200KB).
Galapagos Conservation Trust would like to thank everyone who attended and donated so generously. If you would like to make a donation towards conserving the Islands, you can do so here.
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*The Mangrove Finch Project is bi-institutional project carried out by CDF and the Galapagos National Park in collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global, Auckland Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Funders include Galapagos Conservation Trust, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, individual donors via the International Community Foundation, Marguerite Griffith-Jones, GESS Charitable Trust, Decoroom Limited, Holbeck Charitable Trust, Friends of Galapagos Switzerland, Fondation Ensemble, the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and The British Embassy in Ecuador.