Protecting endangered species from pandemic impacts

As the Galapagos Islands start to reopen to the world, the effects of lockdown are emerging. There have been immediate impacts, such as the pause in the management of invasive species. Others will be longer-term, including the economic pressure on the natural resources of the Islands and the waters within, and surrounding, the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

The Charles Darwin Foundation’s Mangrove Finch Project team had to leave the field suddenly, in the middle of the breeding season. This meant they had to abandon the finch nestlings at the mercy of the Philornis downsi fly larvae, which were present in all the nests they came across. There is nothing they can do but hope they will find breeding adults ready to nest again next season. They need your help to make sure that they can return to the field in 2021 to ensure that next year’s nestlings survive.

Mangrove finch fledgling © Francesca Cunninghame

Mangrove finch fledgeling © Francesca Cunninghame

With the lockdown in Galapagos, came a pause in tourism – which makes up more than 80% of the local economy. This lack of employment prompted worries that illegal fishing would increase in the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), which is home to one of the highest densities of sharks in the world. However, a more immediate threat came from outside of the GMR. In June, industrial fishing boats descended on the boundary of the GMR, providing a perilous journey for migratory species, such as whale and scalloped hammerhead sharks. We need to ramp up our efforts to provide safe corridors for these majestic creatures outside of the GMR by providing the evidence required to create protected swimways through these dangerous waters – but we need your support to do so more urgently than ever.

Whale sharks © Simon Pierce

Whale sharks © Simon Pierce

Please help us to ensure the survival of the unique wildlife of Galapagos in these extraordinary times by donating today.