If we are to reverse the global decline in biodiversity, islands are a key place to focus.
75% of bird, amphibian, mammal, and reptile extinctions have occurred on islands globally. A major threat comes from the invasive species introduced by human activity, especially predators such as rodents and feral cats.
The Floreana Restoration Programme is a ground-breaking conservation project taking place on Floreana Island of the Galapagos Islands. It aims to eradicate non-native invasive mammals and reintroduce locally extinct species including the Floreana mockingbird and the Floreana giant tortoise.
It is one of the largest and most complex eradication projects ever conducted on an inhabited tropical island and will provide a management model for other inhabited islands around the world.
Key to the project’s success is a community-led approach to rewilding. Using a consultative approach, Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) has fostered close relationships with delivery partners and has engaged community leaders, the Galapagos National Park and local businesses to understand, support and own the initiative.
Through this facilitation process, the local community on Floreana have aligned the interests of wildlife conservation with their social and economic development. The intervention will benefit both the local wildlife and the local human population who will have an improved standard of living through a boost in ecotourism and more sustainable agricultural practices.
Catalysing conservation investment
Between 2017 – 2020, the EET funding was instrumental in the project meeting key milestones on the ground.
During this time, GCT established new cross-sector partnerships to draft mitigation plans for non-target species. The charity also completed plans to provide infrastructure for local people to manage other aspects of their island livelihoods, such as more secure enclosures for rearing livestock. GCT and their partners also initiated the phased reintroduction plans for 13 locally extinct species starting with the Floreana mockingbird.
The funding and support from EET have helped GCT increase their profile, recognition, and influence on the Islands, deepen relationships with industry and decision-makers and open new channels of fundraising and exposure.
“Our team has benefitted hugely from EET’s support, particularly their strategic approach to conservation and genuine understanding of the project’s need. The multi-year funding strengthened the programme significantly and allowed us to leverage further support to increase our impact.”
Sharon Johnson, CEO, Galapagos Conservation Trust
Next phases of the programme
The team are raising funds for biodiversity monitoring and pre-reintroduction studies to accelerate biodiversity recovery after the careful baiting of the island to eradicate the invasive rats and feral cats, with a fundraising target of £85,000 in 2022 and £100,000 in 2023.
Follow the team’s latest progress on the project’s blog here.