Ecuador celebrates historic reintroduction of Darwin’s finches to Floreana Island

Conservation success in the Galapagos, where numerous organizations have joined forces to reintroduce over 500 Darwin's finches, the birds that inspired the theory of evolution

Ecuador is currently basking in the success of a monumental conservation achievement on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, with the reintroduction of over 500 birds once studied by Charles Darwin, aptly named “Darwin’s finches.” This initiative marks the largest conservation project ever undertaken in the archipelago, restoring five native species of finches to their natural habitats across the plains and highlands. The final release occurred in February 2024, culminating years of meticulous planning and collaboration.

The partnership behind the project

The initiative was spearheaded by the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency, alongside various environmental protection organizations and international research centers. Their aim was to counteract invasive species to restore the island’s native plants and animals that had vanished. A total of 510 finches were meticulously monitored with radio transmitters by experts and park rangers to ensure their successful reintegration into the wild.

Paula Castaño, a key figure from Island Conservation, reflected on the momentous occasion, stating,

“We’ve planned this moment for so many years, it’s surreal to experience it. The release of these finches marks a monumental moment for the future of Floreana.”

Darwin’s finches: key to understanding evolution

Darwin’s finches are considered key species that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. These birds have adapted their habits and physical traits to their environment and food availability, showcasing a diverse range of feeding habits and beak sizes to meet their dietary needs. Among the 14 species of Darwin’s finches, their role is crucial for the local ecosystem, serving as pollinators, seed dispersers, and insect population controllers.

Among the reintroduced finches is the critically endangered Charles Island Tree Finch, Camarhynchus pauper, unique to Floreana Island, underscoring the importance of ensuring their survival.

Monitoring and future prospects

The Konrad Lorenz Research Center at the University of Vienna will oversee the monitoring of the restored populations using cutting-edge drone technology. Early signs are promising, indicating a bright future for these iconic species.

Source: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin