The island of Floreana was once home to the Floreana mockingbird, one of four endemic species of mockingbirds only found in the Galapagos Archipelago. The introduction of cattle, goats, cats and rats by humans since the 1800′s caused dramatic changes in the ecosystem of Floreana, including heavy grazing on the island’s vegetation and predation on nests and adult birds, such as the Floreana mockingbird.
Fortunately, two islets off the coast of Floreana remained free of introduced species of mammals and currently represent the last strongholds for the Floreana mockingbird: Champion and Gardner. In 2007, an ambitious plan to restore this species in its former territory was launched and consists of three phases:
1) Control of agents of decline of Floreana mockingbirds, habitat restoration at key sites for reintroduction and monitoring of remnant populations of the species on Champion and Gardner islets.
2) Capture and transfer of breeding groups to restored sites on Floreana Island to establish a third population of the species.
3) Monitoring of recently established Floreana mockingbirds at key sites to determine their survival, breeding status and geographic expansion.
Currently the Charles Darwin Foundation provides technical assistance on habitat restoration activities on Floreana Island to the Galapagos National Park and conducts monthly surveys to Champion and Gardner to monitor the Floreana mockingbird populations. The most updated estimate indicates the presence of 64 individuals on Champion and around 400 on Gardner.
You can help ensure the continued success of this fantastic local project by donating to the Charles Darwin Foundation via the The Intrepid Foundation . Intrepid Travel will match* your donation so you will be giving double the support to the little Floreana mockingbird, and other endangered species!
* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.
Photo: © Charles Darwin Foundation