Friday, February 29, 2008

Galapagos - Too many ecological problems

Galapagos has extremely important importance not only from ecological point of view, but from the scientific point of view since this beautiful island with many of its unique species helped Darwin's theory of evolution. Today many years after Darwin came to this wonderful island, many of its unique species are threatened with extinction, mainly because of introduction of many species that were introduced here by humans.

Feral goats, cats, dogs, donkeys and many invasive plants and insects have become great threat to islands' native species. All these new species are quick to reproduce and they are showing no mercy for native species. Because of this, many native species have become nothing but an easy prey to these new species, and native species have hard time adapting to these new conditions since they didn't have any natural predators before these new species were introduced.

Plants like guava, blackberry, various citrus and many other introduced plants (estimations say about 700 ) invade large areas, and they have already killed many endemic species on San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz.

Introduced dogs and cats are destroying bird nests and marine turtles, endangering many unique species that live only in this part of the world. Pigs destroy unique plants in their search for insects and infamous black rat attacks young Galápagos tortoises when they leave the nest, on such level that on some parts of the island there are only adults left. There were also lots of goats introduced to this island (in one period) above 30,000, but thankfully their number is significantly decreasing.

Poultry farming on the inhabited islands is also major reason for concern as domestic chickens and other birds could introduce diseases in many endemic bird species that live here. These birds haven't developed immunity for some of these diseases so even some disease that is almost harmful to chickens could cause extinction of many of these exotic species.

Marine life is also under great threat, mainly because of illegal fishing and as human population grows there's also the development problem that threatens both land and sea species. Tourists aren't helping either , since tourism is causing rapid growth of human population on some islands, and with lots of people there's lot of problems.

Ecologists are helpless because they're making significant progress only on inhabited areas, while they're heavily losing battle with fast-growing human population on many Galapagos islands. There has been some success in battle against some of many invading species, but against most invading species of them all-humans, success isn't very likely to happen.

Galapagos - Unique marine life

Related Articles:

No comments:

Post a Comment