Galapagos National Park Seeks to Control Invasive Species
October 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
On the island of San Cristobal, the Galapagos National Park Service is working to control the number of introduced species in the islands specifically the rat and cat population. This increased effort to eradicate these species is being done after monitoring of visitor sites on San Cristobal showed the presence of these animals.
Scientists have long agreed that introduced plants and animals are the single greatest threat to the Galapagos ecosystem. Black rats are responsible for killing of the sharp-beaked finch population on the islands of Santa Cruz. Park officials say there are a total of 50 bird species currently endangered by rodents, 8 of them critically as well as giant tortoises, iguanas and a series of plants. Rats are omnivores and will eat whatever they encounter including animal eggs.
Similarly feral cats have been known to endanger a range of species. Park officials have previous stepped up their eradication efforts after finding feral cats were preying on colonies of iguanas on Santa Cruz and Baltra, red-footed boobies on San Cristobal and penguins on Isabela.
In San Cristobal the rodent bait is being placed at 83 stations near the Interpretation Center and Isla Lobos. Additionally 160 stations of baited sardines are being established to control cats from Punta Carola, Frigatebird Hill, Puerto Chino and La Loberia. Park authorities say approximately 70% of the traps are currently in place and daily monitoring of the sites has already began.