News

Galapagos Population Growth Triggers Conservation Concerns

WildAid forecasts dramatic rise in biodiversity threats

A new report from international conservation organization, WildAid, warns of increased threats to the biodiversity of the world famous Galapagos Islands. In the next 30 years, the number of Galapagos residents is projected to more than double to 60,000 in addition to increased tourist visits equivalent to roughly 17,000 additional year-round residents by 2040. Reports show that in 2000, the Galapagos was inhabited by as few as 15,000 residents and slightly more than 3,200 in 1970.

The Quarantine Chain: Establishing an Effective Biosecurity System to Prevent the Introduction of Invasive Species into the Galapagos Islands (Spanish language), forecasts 300% growth in maritime shipping and with it, increased risk of introduction of invasive species of animals, insects, and plants. The current cargo demand on the Galapagos is an estimated 56,000 tons and is expected to reach as much as 150,000 tons by 2040.

“We evaluated the current quarantine system and have recommended improvements and how the system could be scaled to cope with future needs. We applaud the Ecuadorian government for prioritizing investment to protect its national treasure,” said WildAid’s Marine Program Director Marcel Bigue. “Once a species is introduced, it may be too late or too costly to implement an eradication program and irreversible damage may occur to native or endemic species, so prevention is better than a cure.” 

WildAid’s assessment was made possible by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, and the International League of Conservation Photographers.

###

Contact:

San Francisco: Brian Adams, WildAid US Communications Director

p: 415.834.3174, e: adams@wildaid.org

About WildAid’s Marine Protection Program: WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection. We have successfully developed a model that strengthens the key elements of the law enforcement chain: surveillance, interdiction, prosecution, and sanction in several MPAs throughout the developing world. We work with governments in the design of strategic control and vigilance strategies that use the power of technology to increase efficacy while lowering patrolling costs. Given weak judicial systems, we also work with partners to develop innovative fining mechanisms that ensure compliance. For more information: www.wildaid.org.