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Island Recovery Evident Ten Years after the Removal of Rats
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December 8th, 2012
Galápagos Restoration Projects Makes Islands Safe for Native Species
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Island Conservation Opens New Office in Hawaii
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Funding secured for Lord Howe Island restoration
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Olivier Langrand joins Island Conservation as Director of Global Affairs
ARCHIVED ARTICLES
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09/2011 Meet Dr. Ray Nias
09/2011 Palmyra: No Place for Pessimists
09/2011 Palmyra Atoll Restoration Project Completes Operational Phase to Remove Non-native Rats
07/2011 Island Hopping: Saving Species in the Tropical Pacific
04/2011 Meet our new Caribbean Regional Director!
03/2011 The Surfer's Journal meets Island Conservation
03/2011 Galapagos Restoration Partners Release Hawks Back to Islands
03/2011 Socios a cargo de la restauración de Galápagos liberan a veinte gavilanes en las islas
01/2011 Galápagos Restoration Project Achieves Conservation Milestone
12/2010 Island Conservation's 2009 Annual Report
12/2010 Island Conservation's Annual Report
08/2010 Rat Island is officially rat-free!
08/2010 IC helps Robinson Crusoe Island residents with tsunami recovery
05/2010 Meet our new South America Regional Director!
05/2010 Author David Quammen speaks on behalf of Island Conservation
03/2010 2010 International Year of Biodiversity
12/2009 Island Conservation's 2008 Annual Report
09/2009 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Publishes Priority List for Restoration of Islands with Invasive Species
05/2009 Island Conservation Honored with Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award
12/2008 Saving Seabirds in the Aleutians
04/2008 IC and Galapagos and Machalilla National Parks unite to protect Waved Albatross on Isla de la Plata

 
March 2nd, 2011
Galapagos Restoration Partners Release Hawks Back to Islands
See how you helped protect the Galapagos Hawk during implementation

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The Galapagos National Park, along with partners involved in a recent project to restore several islands, today announced that twenty Galapagos Hawks were released on February 17th and 18th back to the islands where they were captured. The planning process for a recent operation to remove invasive, non-native rodents to protect native species identified that Galapagos Hawks would be at risk during the operation. To mitigate this risk, the restoration project partners captured the hawks from Rábida, Bartolomé and Bainbridge #3 islands prior to the start of the rodent eradication in early January. Hawks were captured without incident and taken to temporary aviaries on a nearby island, where they were maintained in excellent health throughout the six-week holding period, putting on an average of 100 grams each by the release date. Prior to release, each hawk was fitted with a back-pack style telemetry transmitter that will allow it to be tracked and monitored for over a year. No hawk mortalities occurred during the entire operation.



According to Julia Ponder, Executive Director of The Raptor Center, “Galapagos Hawks are polyandrous, meaning that they have a unique social structure amongst raptors where females maintain harems of males. This unique characteristic allowed us to house a territory group per aviary. Our experience with raptors in captivity elsewhere allowed us to take a preventative health, rather than reactive approach, to issues related to keeping hawks in captivity. This approach allowed us to maintain the hawks in excellent condition throughout the holding period.”

“We expect that now, in the absence of rodents, there will be an increase in native prey, such as centipedes, grasshoppers and lava lizards, which will sustain the population of hawks now that they won’t be feeding on rodents.” said Victor Carrion, who is the Technical Coordinator for the Park.

To protect the hawks, the Galapagos National Park was assisted by Island Conservation, the Charles Darwin Foundation, The Raptor Center at University of Minnesota, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and University of Missouri at St. Louis. The partners were supported by contributions from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Bell Laboratories, Landcare Research, Boston Environmental, Lindblad Expeditions, The Peregrine Fund and the 3M Foundation. This partnership is working to prevent extinctions and restore altered ecosystems on the Galapagos by permanently removing damaging introduced rodents from key islands. On the 7-8th and 14-15th of January 2011, two treatments of rodent bait donated by Bell Laboratories were applied by helicopter to the islands of Rábida, Bartolomé, Sombrero Chino, North Plaza, the two Beagle islets, and three of the Bainbridge Rocks in the first phase of this project.

According to Hugo Arnal, South America Regional Director for Island Conservation, “this is the first time Galapagos Hawks have been maintained in captivity and successfully released. With the knowledge and experience gained future projects will be able to adapt this model to other raptor species and replicate this successful operation.”

“Invasive species pose the greatest threat to nature in the Galapagos,” said Gabriel Lopez, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation. “The islands targeted for rodent eradication cover 704 hectares or 1740 acres and are home to 12 unique Galapagos species considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to be threatened with extinction. Eradicating invasive rodents from these islands will benefit many species unique to the Galapagos.”

The partners expect to adapt the techniques used in this first phase to remove rodents from larger islands in the future. Preparations are underway for removing black rats from Pinzón Island where they have prevented the Galapagos Giant Tortoise from successfully breeding in the wild for over 100 years by consuming eggs and hatchlings. The tortoise population is sustained only by hatching eggs and rearing tortoises to a size where they are ‘rat-proof’ and then releasing them.

Funds are urgently required to allow the Pinzón project to stay on-track.

For more information about the project and island restoration, please visit these partner websites:

Galápagos National Park http://galapagospark.org/

Charles Darwin Foundation www.darwinfoundation.org/

Bell Laboratories www.belllabs.com/

The Raptor Center www.theraptorcenter.org

University of Missouri – St. Louis www.umsl.edu/

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust www.durrell.org/

Contact:

Vanesa García, Head of Public Relations, Galápagos National Park, vgarcia@spng.org.ec

Hugo Arnal, South America Regional Director, Island Conservation, hugo.arnal@islandconservation.org

Gabriel Lopez, Executive Director, Charles Darwin Foundation gabriel.lopez@fcdarwin.org.ec

Julia Ponder, Executive Director, The Raptor Center, ponde003@umn.edu

Patricia Parker, Professor and Chair, University of Missouri – St. Louis, pparker@umsl.edu


To download photos, please click on the slideshow above

To download a .pdf of this press release, click here

 

Galapagos Hawk. Photo: Francesca Cunninghame

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