CONSERVATION IN GALAPAGOS

Saving North Seymour Island from Invasive Rats Declared a Conservation Emergency

AUTHOR Ecoventura

Ecoventura is pleased this month to report on the strident efforts of the Galapagos National Park Service and  Island Conservation, to prepare to eradicate invasive rats from North Seymour Island and liberate this island’s vast ecology from harmful invasive species.

For over a decade, a foreign species of rat have threatened the fragile biodiversity on this small island, feasting on the juveniles and eggs of iguanas, and those of the Blue-Footed Boobies so famed there. This opportunistic and unplanned-for predation has upset the ecological balance in the region to such an extent, the Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment has declared a conservation emergency.

What’s Being Done

This month, Island Conservation will launch SOS or Save our Seymour, a multi-pronged initiative intended to understand the threat posed by these rats and ultimately eradicate them through humane interdiction. Genetic analysis will provide background on their origin – how they came to inhabit this remote island of just 184 hectares – and lay the foundation for a bio-security plan that will prevent future re-introductions.

While a similar eradication effort enjoyed success in 2007 – resulting in greatly reduced predation of native species – new first traces of the hostile rodents were detected again last year, and in that short time, their population and decimation of bird and iguana eggs have increased disturbingly.

The team at Save our Seymour have set out to ensure it’s for the last time.

Limited Tourism Impact

North Seymour Island and Mosquera will be closed from through February 8th as a coalition begins its efforts on the island, dropping poison baits via drone. During this time, these two visitor sites will be closed to visits, and guests redirected to a number of alternative sites. For example, Ecoventura guests joining us on the Eric, Letty and MV ORIGIN on our January 20-27 departures will be visiting the volcanic island of Santa Fe in lieu of North Seymour as efforts to save the island’s wildlife progress.

 

How Can You Help?

Time is of the essence for Seymour Norte SOS and the island’s pristine biodiversity. Island Conservation, working closely with the Directorate of Galapagos National Park, has managed to secure funding from a number of organizations and private individuals concerned with the region’s ecological health.

For more information on the coalition’s efforts, and to learn how you can contribute through donation or otherwise, we encourage you to visit their website at www.islandconservation.com/donate-now.