Project Description

SEYMOUR NORTE

GALÁPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, ECUADOR

drones-conservation-seymour-norte-island
The field team tests the drone on Seymour Norte Island. Credit: Andrew Wright

You can take a drone and pack it up and put it on a plane and you can go anywhere in the world. That effectively opens a door to a whole new suite of islands that have not been feasible in the past.

CHAD HANSON
Project Director

Seymour Norte Island and nearby Mosquera Island are home to some of the Galápagos’ most iconic species, including the Blue-footed Booby and the Swallow-tailed Gull—the world’s only species of nocturnal gull.

In late 2017 Galápagos National Park staff detected invasive rats on Seymour Norte and Mosquera Islands. Hanson led the charge to develop a ground-breaking plan to use specially modified drones instead of traditional helicopters to remove invasive rats. Utilizing drones will help restore small and mid-sized islands around the world by providing greater mobility and a more cost-effective approach than helicopters and specially trained pilots.

The successful use of drones in this project was a global first that paves the way for drones to become a new tool for conservation, improving efficacy and precision.

Building upon Island Conservation’s 25-year legacy of success in innovation, the islands show no sign of invasive rats. While monitoring continues, we will work to streamline this game-changing technology.

swallow-tailed-gull-seymour-norte-island-galapagos
Swallow-tailed Gull—the world’s only nocturnal gull.
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