How lockdown has helped the world’s endangered species bounce back
By Sarah Marshall and Andrew Purvis and Mark Eveleigh
Excerpt by Sarah Marshall
The Telegraph Online
Undisturbed Galapagos… for now
The Galapagos Islands, always hailed as nature’s paradise, could bring an even richer wildlife experience for visitors this year as a result of the pandemic. Pods of dolphins have revelled in empty harbours, brown pelicans have reclaimed nesting sites unused for decades, and bird populations have soared.
A census by the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation revealed a record increase in flightless cormorants, plus a surge in the penguin population. Scientists largely credit La Niña – responsible for ocean cooling, and an abundance of food – but a drop in human disturbance no doubt helped.
So, would the remote Pacific archipelago be better off without us? Not at all. It appears prying eyes have a part to play in protecting vulnerable species.
Taking advantage of quiet waters, more Chinese fishing vessels than normal were spotted on the edge of the Galapagos last summer, raising fears of poaching activity.
Residents of Santa Cruz island protested and activists led by Roque Sevilla – the former mayor of Quito, in mainland Ecuador – presented a marine protection strategy to the national government. Sevilla wants a “multinational marine corridor” between Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, protecting marine life from overfishing and other dangers.
On our imperfect planet, it seems animals need us as much as we need them. Tourism, conducted responsibly, keeps human predators at bay as well as providing income for conservation efforts.
Check out our interactive timeline and review new updates, videos, research findings and updates from the Galapagos Islands in 2020
Want to learn more about the foreign distant-water fishing fleet near the outskirts of Ecuador’s Insular EEZ, which surround the Galápagos Marine Reserve?
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