Protecting The Birds in Galapagos Islands - Approximately 93% of all bird extinctions in the world between 1600 and 1980 have been island species. In the Galapagos there are no endemic extinct species.¬† However, some species, like the mangrove finch, the Galapagos petrel, the Flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin are threatened mostly due to their very reduced numbers.
Studies, census and regular monitoring of these species provide a database that enables an assessment of the populations, population dynamics and fluctuations caused by man or by natural phenomena.
The Galapagos ecosystems present considerable physical, chemical and biological fluctuation that greatly affects the birds. The Galapagos lagoons and swamps support a great variety and number of wading birds both migratory and resident. Recent studies have proven a considerable level of encroachment on this habitat due to rapid expansion of human habitation. Introduced plants and animals readily establish themselves in these ecosystems and are starting to change them in unpredictable ways.
During the last ten years regular bird census have been made. In the case of flamingos, 494 were counted during the year 2005. Additionally, 776 birds, belonging to 17 species were observed of which the cattle egret was the most abundant with 306 individuals.
The population of flightless cormorants has increased over the last 5 years, especially along the northern coast of Isabela Island. During the year 2004, 1411 were counted while during 2005 we recorded 1538.
The information obtained from the penguin census nurtured our database on population density and distribution. This information will help the CHDF and the GNP to determine the tendency of this population to increase or diminish. During the year 2005, 1087 penguins where recorded.