Few places on Earth rival the incredible diversity of species found on islands. Islands make up less than 5% of the world’s land mass, yet are home to 20% of all bird, reptile, and plant species. Some islands are home to hundreds—or even thousands—of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world.
But, we are losing these rare species forever. Islands contain almost half of all Critically Endangered plants and animals. Extinction rates are disproportionately greater on islands—they are the site of 80% of all known extinctions, with invasive species as the primary cause.
With your support, we are saving island plants and animals from extinction and ensuring that healthy island ecosystems continue to exist on our big blue planet.
Greetings friends of Island Conservation,
With support from our donors, partners, and friends like you we’ve had another amazing run this year, with incredible conservation impacts to report!
Have you heard the term Extinct in the Wild? It’s a unenviable conservation status assigned to a species teetering on the edge of life, just a few precarious steps away from disappearing from our world, forever.
Extinct in the wild essentially means the species cannot reproduce in its natural environment. This has been the case for the Pinzón Giant Tortoise for more than 100 years—they only survived thanks to a captive breeding program established years ago. Tortoise eggs were collected on the island, reared in captivity, and released only when they were large enough to defend themselves against invasive rats. That is until now.
In partnership with the Galápagos National Park and other key partners, we confirmed the success of our 2012 effort to remove invasive rats from Pinzón. In fact, this year scientists documented Pinzón Giant Tortoise hatchlings being born and thriving in their natural environment for the first time in 100 years!
Meanwhile, in French Polynesia, 1000s of miles west of these recovering tortoises, we brought hope to another imperiled species. The Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove, locally known as the Tutururu, is one of our world’s rarest birds. Found on just five small atolls in French Polynesia, there are only about 150 of these birds left in the world.
To save this rare bird and other threatened species from extinction, we, in partnership with Birdlife International, Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie (SOP) Manu, and many others, completed one of our largest, most logistically challenging island restoration projects to date by removing feral cats, goats, and invasive rats from six islands in the Acteon and Gambier island groups in French Polynesia.
We are so excited to share this and other great stories with you – your support has made these ground-breaking projects and conservation impacts a reality. Thank you again for being amazing partners and friends of Island Conservation! If you aren’t already getting our email newsletters, you can sign up at the bottom of our new website, and we’d be delighted to call you allies in our Cabritos Island, Where the Real Wild Things Are Campaign in the Dominican Republic.
Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species; develop comprehensive and humane plans for the removal of invasive species; implement the removal of invasive species; and conduct research – conservation measures – to understand the ecosystem changes and benefits to inform future conservation action.
To date, Island Conservation has deployed teams to protect 994 populations of 389 species on 52 islands.