Floreana Island, Galápagos, Ecuador

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Floreana Island, Galápagos, Ecuador

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FLOREANA ISLAND RESTORATION PROJECT

A much-beloved global treasure

Floreana Island is located on the southern end of the Galápagos Archipelago off the west coast of continental Ecuador. It has the highest concentration of species threatened by invasive mammals of any Galápagos Island, with 54 IUCN Red-Listed species present. The incredible biodiversity includes birds, such as the endemic Floreana Medium Tree-finch, the endemic Galápagos Petrel, and the Floreana Mockingbird. Surrounding Floreana lie beautiful coral reefs and an abundance of fish and other marine species, including Galápagos sea lions, King Angel Fish, Balloon Fish, Hawkfish, Hammerhead Sharks, Galápagos Penguins and Green Sea Turtles.

The island is also home to a community of roughly 140 people who rely on tourism and on local agriculture, utilizing the rich soil that has developed over many years. Sustainability is an integral part of daily community discussions, as farming plays such an important role and local resources are extremely vulnerable. The Floreana community has watched in disappointment over the years as damaging, non-native (invasive) rodents and feral cats contributed to the local extinctions of endemic species (found nowhere else in the world) and negatively impacted the local economy.

These outsider species disrupt the ecological balance shaped by centuries of evolution by killing or driving out indigenous species, re-engineering natural processes, spreading disease, and ultimately compromising food security for the community. This also reduces the number of special animals and plants that tourists travel from far and wide to see.

A Voice from the Community

“Invasive species are destroying our island. They devour crops and are pushing our seabird populations to the brink of extinction. We catch less fish every year. By removing invasive species, we have the opportunity to restore both the land and the sea, and provide more ecotourism opportunities for the first time on an inhabited island in the archipelago. Our livelihoods, our health and the next generation’s future depend on it.”

- Max Freire, Floreana Island native and fisherman

The Project

IOCC partners will work with local Floreana community members and stakeholders to remove destructive rats, mice and feral cats from the island. But the long-term project includes far more than making Floreana safe from invasives. In the coming years, team members will reintroduce at least 12 species that have been locally extirpated from Floreana, such as the Floreana Giant Tortoise, the Floreana Racer, the Vermillion Flycatcher, the Galápagos Rail, the Galápagos Hawk, the Lava Gull, the Floreana Mockingbird and five species of Darwin’s Finches. The restoration of Floreana Island’s ecosystem will benefit not only native wildlife, but also the health, agricultural production, and tourism endeavors of the local community.

Project Partners & Funders

Bell Laboratories, Inc., Blue Action Fund, Charities Aid Foundation Canada, Charles Darwin Foundation, Conservation International Foundation, Corporacion Andina de Fomento (Development Bank of Latin America), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Ecoventura, Fondation Ensemble, Fondo Especies Invasoras Galápagos, Fundación Jocotoco, Galápagos Biosecurity Agency, Galápagos Conservancy, Galápagos Conservation Trust, Galápagos National Park, Global Environment Facility, Island Conservation, Konrad Lorenz Research Center – Vienna University, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (German Development Bank), Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Once Upon a Time Foundation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Silversea Cruises, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, The Conservation Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The International Galápagos Tour Operators Association, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the U.K. Government (through The Darwin Initiative), Tourism Cares, Re:wild, The Raptor Center, UNIGALAPAGOS, WildAid, Willow Grove Foundation, and other anonymous donors.

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