Skip navigation
15/11/2018 Island restoration

Community Drives Restoration of Floreana Island

Find out how Galapagos Conservation Trust, Island Conservation and other partners are working with the Floreana island community to drive their vision of a more sustainable Floreana.

Photograph of Chad Hanson

Chad Hanson

Chad Hanson is Deputy Vice President Conservation at Island Conservation. Before joining Island Conservation, Chad played a leading role in the removal of invasive goats from Santiago island in Galapagos.

On Floreana island, conservation and the idea of building a more sustainable future has become an integral part of the daily community discussion. As residents of the sixth largest island in an archipelago known for its rich biodiversity, the Floreana community have watched in disappointment over the years as damaging, invasive rodents contributed to the local extinctions of endemic species and impacted the local economy.

Floreana - Island Conservation

Landscape view of Floreana island © Island Conservation

Now, in an effort to help build a sustainable Floreana, Island Conservation, Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) and other partners are working with the community to remove the invasive species that have so drastically impacted the island. One of the most important aspects of the Floreana programme has been the focus on transparent communication with the community to not only save native species but to reinvigorate the local economy through a boost in tourism and more sustainable agricultural practices.

Floreana was once home to some of the world’s most incredible species including the Floreana mockingbird and the Floreana giant tortoise. Now these species are locally extinct. In the case of the mockingbird, they only exist on two off-shore islets – Champion and Gardner. The endemic giant tortoise was considered extinct but genetic testing of tortoises on Isabela island found that whalers had, in fact, transported some Floreana species to the island. After restoration, these native species will have a chance to once again thrive on their home island.

Floreana mockingbird - Bill Weir

Floreana mockingbird © Bill Weir

As part of building a more sustainable Floreana, one of the key concerns for both conservationists and the community has been the impact that the programme could have on domestic livestock. In the past, free-range livestock has been a concern since more than 98% of the island is managed by the Galapagos National Park and is therefore protected. To address this, and to keep wild and domestic species safe, a few changes needed to be made to the infrastructure of the island.

On Floreana, livestock are vital to the local economy and the community. In order to protect the livestock during implementation of the project, Island Conservation and GCT are working closely with the community to prevent the cows, horses, mules, chickens and pigs from any unintended exposure to conservation bait that will be used to remove the invasive rodents. The solution—shipping containers.

Shipping container, Floreana - Island Conservation

Island restoration specialist, Victor Carrion, explains the use of shipping containers as silage © Island Conservation

Shipping containers will allow the community to safely store grains and resources for their livestock while preventing access to rodents looking for a home or meal. This provides a two-fold benefit as it removes an alternative food source to rodents while protecting livestock feed from possible contamination. Shipping containers are not the only solution-oriented infrastructure necessary for the project. To adequately protect chickens, Island Conservation, GCT and partners are also working with the community to design and build chicken coops which are being distributed to all community members who need them. These coops will not only protect chickens during implementation but will lead to higher production rates long-term, therefore benefiting the community members and local economy.

Building chicken coops, Floreana - Island Conservation

Island Conservation staff members break ground and help build new chicken coops on Floreana © Island Conservation

The Floreana community and partners are excited and hopeful for the future of the island and helping to build a more sustainable Floreana.

Support the Restoring Floreana programme today!

GCT are working on the Restoring Floreana programme with Island Conservation, the Galapagos National Park, Massey University and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

If you want to find out more about the Restoring Floreana programme, visit our webpage.

If you would like to support the restoration of Floreana, please donate today!

Related articles

14th Nov 2023
Wildlife facts

Meet the six Galapagos species you can adopt with GCT

One of the ways we encourage people to support the wildlife of Galapagos is through our species adoptions, which help fund several projects across the Archipelago.
Read more
Galapagos Day 2023 speakers
30th Oct 2023
Events Rewilding

Galapagos Day 2023: Rewilding Galapagos

On Thursday 19 October we gathered once more at London’s historic Royal Geographical Society for Galapagos Day, our biggest event of the year.
Read more
Sunrise on Floreana
25th Oct 2023
Island restoration Rewilding

Tequila Sunrise? Or Floreana Sunrise?

Carolina Torres, International Legal and Administrative Manager at GCT partner Island Conservation, reflects on how the Floreana project signals hope for a future where people and nature can thrive together.
Read more
Floreana mockingbird
3rd Oct 2023
Island restoration Rewilding

12 missing species set to return to Floreana

Today is the day when the next phase of the restoration of Floreana island begins, as the project moves into the eradication phase, the largest and most complex eradication ever attempted on an inhabited tropical island.
Read more

Get the latest news from Galapagos

Join our mailing list to receive our monthly email newsletter, bringing you the latest news on Galapagos and our work to protect the Islands.

Share This Page