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Endangered Species of the Galapagos Islands

Updated on October 1, 2014

Galapagos' Ecosystem Boasts Many Native and Endangered Species Found only on the Islands

Source

Why we Should Care About Native Galapagos Island Species

It may be non-native animals and plants brought to the islands by a young Charles Darwin in the early 18th century which started the process - His own theory of evolution collapsing in on itself and wreaking havoc on the very things he was so fascinated by. It is still tragic, and an on-going battle to preserve and save what species remain in this delicate ecosystem like no other on the planet. To lose any creature is to deny humanity the possibility of future discovery. Perhaps a cure for cancer lies in these precious plants. Or maybe we will find that native bees are strangely resistant to certain bacteria. Perhaps a little known budding flower will evolve into a superfood for people who live in space. Even if we never glean a single scientific benefit from the endangered planta and mammals on the Galapagos islands, we owe them the respect of being able to exist. Perhaps we do not know what role we are ultimately meant to play in this game of life, but I am relatively sure it is not to destroy living things in such a manner that their entire species would cease to exist.

Pinnacle Rock, Galapagos

Source

What are we doing about it?

The goal is to restore the islands to their original native populations. "Captive breeding" involves fencing or caging the animals with others of the same breed to encourage more offspring.

Additionally, the foreign species are being removed.

These efforts are beginning to turn the problem around, but the animals still need help. Spreading awareness of the plight of the islands and it's creatures, both flora and fauna, is another good way to help.

Why are we losing them?

  • Other species not native to the islands have been introduced here. Some of these foreign inhabitants bring disease, or are predators to the natural life on the islands.
  • Certain infectious agents arrive here via the air or the ocean, and wipe out many of the inhabitants
  • Illegal hunting and fishing
  • Humans - both the increase in humans who now live on the islands, and human visitors.
  • Global warming and its large-scale impacts on natural processes
  • Rising demand for local products

Blue Footed Booby

These are thefunniest looking creatures I've ever seen - but so adorable too! Check out their mating dance. Can you imagine we might lose them some day?  What a disgrace!  Nature can be funny sometimes. Let's enjoy their joy and keep them around.
These are thefunniest looking creatures I've ever seen - but so adorable too! Check out their mating dance. Can you imagine we might lose them some day? What a disgrace! Nature can be funny sometimes. Let's enjoy their joy and keep them around. | Source

Blue Footed Boobies Mating Dance

Galápagos Tortoise

Giant Tortoises on Galapagos are among the longest living animals on earth,
Giant Tortoises on Galapagos are among the longest living animals on earth, | Source

Galapagos' Giant Tortoise

These big boys dwell on the Galapagos Islands’ land. They are endangered due to overcollection by whaling ships. In addition, the introduction of predators to the islands has severely limited their natural reproduction. In some cases reproduction has been halted altogether. Vital captive breeding and rearing projects are being carried out at the Charles Darwin Research Station. These large tortoises are strictly protected in the Galapagos, which were declared a National Park in 1959.

Waved Albatross

Source

The largest bird of the Galapagos

The Waved Albatross, is known for it’s intricate mating dance. They mate and rear their young together, and only have one egg during breeding season. This makes them quite vulnerable, since both parents are needed for survival. In past years, the Galapagos Islands where they thrive have been overcome by two introduced species: the feral cat and the goat. The invasion of these animals led to a severe decrease in their population. While the animals have since been removed, the Albatross remains endangered until they can increase their population back to safe levels. This will take more time.

Fun music set perfectly to Waved Albatross dance!

Vote for your Favorite Endangered Galapagos Species

What is your favorite Galapagos Animal?

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Marine Iguana

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Marine Iguana foraging for food in the ocean. Where else but Galapagos?
Marine Iguana foraging for food in the ocean. Where else but Galapagos?
Marine Iguana foraging for food in the ocean. Where else but Galapagos?

Where are the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Penguin

They nest in colonies in burrows or crevises in the lava rocks – one of their favorite spots is a small cave behind Pinnacle Rock, which houses one of their breeding colonies (see intro pic).
They nest in colonies in burrows or crevises in the lava rocks – one of their favorite spots is a small cave behind Pinnacle Rock, which houses one of their breeding colonies (see intro pic). | Source

Most Northern Penguins in the World!

Short and stocky birds who don’t fly, with webbed feet and flipper-like wings.

Endangered.

They may be a bit awkward on land, but they make up for it – they are beautiful swimmers.

They have no fear of humans, and will swim right around you.

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