Great news for the Galapagos Penguin
The Galapagos Islands wildlife has fascinated us ever since the naturalist Charles Darwin brought them to the attention of the world through his remarkable journey of discovery in the early 1800s. His research in the archipelago forms the basis of what has become his revolutionary theory of natural election.
In subsequent years, this offshore island group of Ecuador has become a popular place for ecotourism. There are several places on Earth that offer such insights into our natural world intrigue and, for wildlife enthusiasts, the Galapagos vacation can be one of their most memorable life experiences. Great news for the Galapagos Penguin
Among the unique endemic species, the rare and endangered Galapagos Penguin is one of the most sought-after sightings. By 2017, after decades of declining population, researchers have seen a spurt in bird growth, and there appears to be some good news for the most endangered penguin species on the planet – and that’s also good news for wildlife lovers who visit the Galapagos holiday area. Great news for the Galapagos Penguin
A bonanza breeding
The reason for buying gold recently did not result in an overnight success. Many bird nests that have been used for the last 40 years have been destroyed by floods or followed by the Sea Iguanas. So, in 2010, a team of researchers from the University of Washington began working on a project that included the construction of 120 artificial penguin nests, with the goal of providing as many opportunities as possible to breed for the species.
The nest is made by digging the tunnel into the lava landscape, or by lava plate accumulation. The nest has been dubbed “penguin condo” and has been built on three island islands: Isabela, Bartolomé and Fernandina. The aim of the researcher is to ensure that when food availability is abundant (when the breeding is most likely to occur), the birds have access to a safe nest to protect their eggs and keep them cool.
The nest is monitored twice a year and in the last visit by researchers, the number of teenage penguins is more visible – and, in fact, they account for about 45% of the total population.
The increase in breeding is directly correlated with La Niña weather events, which bring rich and nutrient rich flows into the seas around the archipelago. In recent years the El Niño event (which brought the current slower and warmer, created a scarcity of food sources), consequently for the penguin population has been devastating. It is estimated that there are less than half of these days as in the 1979-73 and 1982-83 pre-El Niño years. Great news for the Galapagos Penguin
By providing a means for species to utilize favorable nesting conditions, artificial nests have played an important role in the regeneration of this population. In the hope of another La Niña in the spring of 2018, it is hoped that this breeding crush will continue and increase further. The Galapagos Conservancy has supported this program since 2013, and the body recognizes the valuable work of this dedicated group of researchers. Their long-term goal is to increase the population to a certain point so as to survive the adverse climate fluctuations, and representatives will return to the islands in February 2018 to examine the nest and share their findings.
A privilege of experience
For wildlife enthusiasts who visit the region on the Galapagos holidays, it is still a privilege and an unforgettable experience to see species in their natural habitat. In the coming years, the population can regain its prevalence over the last few decades – proving that in some cases, human intervention can be positive rather than harm world wildlife.
Great news for the Galapagos Penguin