The introduction of invasive species has had devastating effects on Floreana’s local wildlife. 55 species found on the island are currently listed on the IUCN Red List, including two that are critically endangered. 12 species are now locally extinct, including the Floreana mockingbird and Galapagos racer snake, the reason for which is widely thought to be due to introduced feral cats and rats. Fortunately, the racer and mockingbird have survived on the neighbouring islets of Champion and Gardner-by-Floreana where such invasive species are not present, and other locally extinct species are found elsewhere in the Archipelago. One species, the Floreana giant tortoise is extinct.
Galapagos Conservation Trust is supporting Island Conservation and other project partners to undertake one of the largest, and most complex, eradication projects ever conducted on an inhabited tropical island, with the ultimate goal to reintroduce locally extinct species to Floreana. To date, no project has ever successfully removed invasive rats and cats from such a large inhabited island.
There are three key phases of the programme:
- Mitigation – ensuring that all vulnerable species, as well as humans and livestock, are adequately protected during the baiting phase of the project.
- Eradication – targeted baiting to eradicate non-native rats and feral cats.
- Reintroduction – the repatriation of locally extinct species including the Floreana mockingbird and Galapagos racer.
To find out more about the project, please visit our blog for project updates.