galápagos

Rewilding the planet’s cradle of evolution

A natural laboratory of evolution, the Galápagos Islands lie 563 miles west of the coast of Ecuador and are volcanic in nature. The archipelago comprises 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. It is the most biologically intact archipelago worldwide, with more than 95% of its original species still present. 

Only five islands are inhabited by the 25,000 people of the Galápagos: Baltra (Seymour), Floreana, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Isabela. The majority of the land is protected with only 3 percent set aside for human development.

The Galápagos are world renowned for their abundance of unique wildlife including the Galápagos giant tortoises, land iguanas, lava lizards, Darwin’s finches, the Galápagos Penguin, and many other species found nowhere else. The Galápagos archipelago also holds spectacular marine biodiversity, with 2,900 known species of marine animals, the world’s highest abundance of sharks, and the world’s only marine iguana. In total, 146 of the archipelago's species are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Re:wild solution

Re:wild works with partners, the Ecuadorian government and local communities toward a shared vision of healthy, sustainable, functioning and vibrant island and marine ecosystems across the Galápagos. 

A Galápagos Sea Lion rests on the sand. Isla Floreana, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. (Photo courtesy of Island Conservation)

The island of Floreana is a central focus of our work - home to 54 threatened species, and the Floreana Mockingbird which survives only on two small predator-free offshore islets.

Restoration actions on Floreana will allow the island’s unique fauna the opportunity to flourish, create the conditions for community tourism and help to attract new investment to the region.

Giant tortoise (Photo by Andy Wright)

We are working with partners to create an environment safe from invasive predators on Floreana, in order to reintroduce animals wiped out from the island including the Floreana Tortoise and Floreana Mockingbird, and recover other species including the Galápagos Petrel.

We are also working to establish a conservation breeding and predator control program to benefit Pink Iguanas, which exist only as a relic population of 300 individuals on top of the highest volcano in the Galápagos.

Banner collage image credits: Cristina Mittermeier, Shawn Heinrichs, Pedro Szekely, Paul Krawczuk

Partners

Wild Facts

  • The Galápagos is home to the only penguin north of the equator.

  • The Galápagos was the first site listed on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list.

  • For the first time in 150 years, Pinzón Giant Tortoise hatchlings can survive in the wild.

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Solutions

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the interrelated crises of wildlife extinctions, climate change and pandemics. Re:wild works with local and Indigenous communities, conservation partners, governments and others to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our conservation work in the Galápagos includes any combination of the following solutions:

Protected Area Creation

Identifying and prioritizing wildlands in need of increased protection status, including establishing new protected and conserved areas, Indigenous-managed territories, and private protected areas in these places.

protected area management

Improving the way protected and conserved areas are managed—involving communities, Indigenous peoples, sociology, economics, business management, and wildlife crime prevention—to ensure a safer future for biodiversity and local communities.

Ecosystem Restoration

Supporting extensive native habitat restoration, such as reforestation, that assists in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, but that can rebound and rewild with a little help.

conservation breeding, translocations and reintroductions

Creating insurance populations to prevent extinction and active management of wildlife populations to help restore them to healthy and self-sustainable numbers across their natural range.

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Related News and Other Stories

By Gege Li on May 17, 2021

A community-led approach to rewilding the Galápagos

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By Lindsay Renick Mayer on May 17, 2021

Galápagos National Park, environmental heroes, local communities and global funders unite on bold mission to restore the Galápagos Islands and beyond

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