Geckos - Charles Darwin Foundation
The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) Galapagos, Ecuador, has provided technical and scientific advice to the government of Ecuador in relation to conservation of Galapagos for the past fifty years. Your donation will support the restoration of Floreana, which was the first inhabited island in Galapagos. Since the early 1800s the presence of humans has resulted in habitat destruction, species loss and the introduction of invasive species.
This project will prioritize protected areas for threatened species and their habitats. Ten species (seven bird, two reptile, and one plant) are already extinct on Floreana. Invasive plants like blackberry, and over-grazing by farm and feral animals have degraded most of the vegetation.
The Floreana mockingbird, also critically endangered, is one of several locally extinct species that CDF and the Galapagos National Park Service hope to reintroduce; it exists only on two small offshore islets. This species played a pivotal role in Darwin’s reflections, leading to his theory of natural selection. The giant tortoise is also a candidate for reintroduction; long extinct on Floreana, it is the only large endemic herbivore in Galapagos and a keystone species for ecosystem function.
Community support is critical to the success of restoration of Floreana Island. The project combines island restoration with sustainable human activities highlighting the importance of conservation. Improved quarantine and inspection standards will be implemented to help protect the unique vulnerability of the island ecosystems and build a broader understanding among inhabitants of environmental stewardship.
With your support, the restoration of Floreana Island will link ecosystem restoration – marine and terrestrial - with the lives and aspirations of local residents.