Conservation action in the Galapagos: large-scale introduced herbivore eradications

Introduced mammals are major drivers of extinction and ecosystem change. Introduced herbivores are particularly destructive to island ecosystems: the introduction of goats, pigs, and donkeys to islands worldwide has resulted in widespread primary and secondary impacts via overgrazing, often leading to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Building on island conservation techniques partially developed in New Zealand, we report on a series of large-scale introduced herbivore eradications on the Galapagos Islands. Eradications have been completed or are underway on large islands be leveraging and integrating (1) aerial hunting by helicopter, (2) the use of specially trained hunting dogs and information system technology, and (4) improved Judas goat techniques. Over 41,000 goats were removed from Pinta Island (5,940 ha), and over 18,000 pigs from Santiago Island (57,941 ha) – both the largest insular removals to date. Goats are currently being removed from Santiago and Isabela Islands (472, 350 ha) – a project of unprecedented scale. Leveraging new technologies and techniques should drastically increase both the island size where eradication is feasible and the efficiency of the campaign, the latter saving precious conservation dollars.

Author Donlan, C. J., Campbell, K., Carrion, V., Lavoie, C. and Cruz, F.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Institution Cornell University
Pages 168-168
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