Advancing knowledge of two critically endangered Floreana native species to enable conditions for their protection
The Floreana mockingbird has been absent from its namesake island for about a century, having been extirpated to the two nearby islets of Champion and Gardner because of invasive predators.
With Floreana Island home to the world’s largest Galapagos petrel breeding colony, the 160 Floreana residents have identified it as the island’s flagship species. The Galapagos petrel is the predominant species branding the community’s eco-tourism initiative.
As part of a larger Floreana Island socio-ecological restoration effort, this project’s two objectives will help develop the necessary environmental and social conditions to protect both species. The objectives are to develop a plan to reintroduce the mockingbird to its native island and to facilitate residents’ awareness and understanding of the Floreana mockingbird and the Galapagos petrel.
To advance the Floreana mockingbird reintroduction plan, various activities will be planned:
- Conduct a population census on Champion and Gardner islets to continue the monitoring of the population size using the capture-banding-recapture method
- Assess sources of food for the species on both islets
- Modify the Reintroduction Plan with the new data collected of the species
The project’s secondary objective leverages Island Conservation’s relationship with the Floreana community to engage them in two efforts to increase their association with (including knowledge of and pride in) the Floreana mockingbird and the Galapagos petrel.
- Collaborating with mockingbird and petrel researchers, Island Conservation’s Galapagos-based staff will coordinate a community presentation on, respectively, the petrel research and the mockingbird. Staff will plan the meetings with each researcher and the Floreana Parish Council, and will hold the evening presentations at the Floreana Community Center.
- Island Conservation’s Floreana Community Liaison will coordinate with the researchers, the Association, and government-agency partner Casa de la Cultura to plan for the mockingbird and petrel field trip with members of the Floreana Community Tourism Association. IC’s staff will accompany the groups.
FINAL REPORT SUMMARY:
Over the grant period, Island Conservation teams led various actions:
- A census as well as behavioral observations were carried out on Champion and Gardner islets. Resources and diet have also been studied. All of this work enabled an update of the reintroduction plan.
- Field trips to see the two bird species have also taken place with members of the tourist association, inhabitants and pupils from Floreana island. Coupled with this, awareness activities have been led: photo contest, theatre, games … and talks about the island biodiversity and responsible animal ownership.
- Researchers are going to pursue their work to finalize the reintroduction plan of the species on Floreana.