In honor of #GivingTuesday, we asked Sara Kaiser, a volunteer for Island Conservation, why she cares about islands. Here is her response…
Islands are important to me for being sentinels for global atmospheric and oceanic health, vibrant centers of high biodiversity, and homes to people. I believe islands have come to be more and more meaningful to others and myself when we see them appear again and again as iconic features of literature, philosophy, and history.
Among all the incredible natural wonders of the world, islands stand out like brilliant jewels. When you visit an island, live on one, or learn about their history, you are witness to a magical realm. From afar, islands appear as bold eruptions of rock, dirt, and sand, often swathed in foliage, that delicately speckle the open ocean. Though small, these terrestrial refuges of the sea can hold their ground for millions of years. To add to their wonder, when you look a little bit closer, you discover that islands are as ecologically rich as they are geologically thrilling.
Learn more about Island Conservation involvement in the designation of the Largest Marine Protected Area in South America, the Desventuradas Islands in Chile
Islands are home to an incredible array of our world’s bird, reptile, marine, and plant species. The land and water species of islands present a unique blend of traits that catch our attention and unbridle the imagination. The Coconut Crab is one island species that I can scarcely believe exists outside the territory of fiction; its exterior looks as though it were meticulously painted on. Deep, rich blues contrast with bright, vibrant oranges, which are dappled with ivory ellipses reminiscent of eyes, bubbles, or cells—depending on how you look at them. You can’t help but start formulating a story about a mysterious, reclusive artist who paints crabs during the night.
One of the most intimidating looking island species must be the Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana, native to Cabritos Island, Dominican Republic. Once you see its long claws, ridge of spikes along its spine, and menacing glare, you will surely agree! Although it looks ferocious, the Ricord’s Iguana is a fairly peaceful creature, subsisting on a mostly herbivorous diet, and coexisting with its fellow island-mate the Rhinoceros Iguana. On Cabritos Island, you can catch a glimpse of these huge reptiles basking in the sun or crawling into their burrows.
Learn more about the Ricord’s Iguana
The Giant Tortoise’s down-to-earth demeanor has a way of calming the mind and brightening the spirit. The Giant Tortoise is known to rest an average of sixteen hours a day! I wonder if its easy-going manner has something to do with its astonishing lifespan of 100 years or more. It’s unhurried pace reminds you to take your time and appreciate your surroundings.
Learn more about our projects in Galapagos
Island wildlife offers even more than aesthetic beauty and a broad range of unique traits. Thriving wildlife often contribute in meaningful ways to local culture, economy, and human livelihood.
Island species make up the heart of an island ecosystem. It is hard to imagine these vibrant gems fading away, but if we wish to protect these one-of-a-kind species, we must take action now.
One effective strategy to save island plants and animals and restore island health is to remove invasive species. Majority of recorded extinctions occurred on islands, with invasive species as the primary cause. When you remove invasive species, native flora and fauna can return to their natural ecological balance. Our mission is to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species.
The power is in your hands to protect these precious and vulnerable places. Your contribution to Island Conservation saves species from extinction, and restores island habitats so that natural wildlife can thrive. You can take immediate action to protect the incredible islands that enrich our planet and our lives. In honor of Giving Tuesday, join us today in giving back to islands!
- Seabirds Return to Desecheo Island One Year After Restoration - June 27, 2018
- Children of Palau Design Pledge for Ecological Responsibility - June 11, 2018
- Heightened Aspirations: IUCN Green List Strives for Flourishing Species - April 20, 2018
- Philosophy Talks: Pattern, Practices, and Wisdom - April 16, 2018
- Scientific Study Calls for Holistic Conservation Goals - April 13, 2018
- Goats + Island Ecosystems? Not a Good Match - April 6, 2018
- Wallabies Doing Well on Dirk Hartog Island - April 6, 2018
- National Wildlife Federation: Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis - April 5, 2018
- Midway: Edge of Tomorrow - April 3, 2018
- Hybrid Iguanas Signal Need for Stricter Biosecurity - March 8, 2018